Bison Tales

Bison Newborn in SnowJust another day at the office. A bison rested with her newborn calf behind the Mammoth Hotel today, close enough that I could watch the pair from my window. This is the first calf I’ve observed this season—last year I delighted in watching their antics while they frolicked in meadows throughout Yellowstone.

Bison babies don’t resemble their parents at all—although I find adult bison magnificent, it’s a stretch to call them cute. But bison calves are pretty darn adorable. The calves stark difference in appearance from the adults—especially the brick red color of their coats—has caused some park visitors to ask about the “little orange dogs” running with the bison.

Bison and Calf in Mammoth Hot SpringsA bison usually gives birth to one calf after a nine and a half month gestation period; twins occur occasionally. For the first few days, the calf spends most of its time resting, but soon becomes energetic enough to explore its surroundings. The orange-reddish coat typically fades after a month, gradually darkening until it transforms into the dark brown hue of the adult bison.

Yesterday at the north entrance of Yellowstone, I watched from my front porch as staff herded some wandering bison back within the park boundaries. I made a quick video of the round-up.