Bison kick up their heels at Yellowstone, part 2

August 15, 2023

Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times, the national park service tells us. And in that time, bison have really learned how to play — apparently right from birth!

Calves just wanna have fun

We were in Yellowstone National Park‘s Lamar Valley in mid-May, during our RV trip across the West, and newborn calves with umbilical cords still attached were frolicking.

And gamboling

I took a ton of pictures of calves playing one morning. I hope you enjoy these favorites of the bunch.

That face! The one on the left is having so much fun.

Time to eat


Bison cows were shedding their winter coats and wallowing in the dirt.


As one cow got ready for a good wallow, yellow-headed blackbirds gathered nearby, picking through the prairie grass.

Wallow time


All done

Bison traffic jam

Bison took charge of Yellowstone’s roads whenever they wished, creating traffic backups.

Just daring you to make his day

At last they relented and moved uphill.

All except one

Bridge stampede

Another time we watched a herd of bison crossing a bridge over the Yellowstone River. They spooked halfway across and took off running…

…then swerved to cross the road…

…wary of cars…

…and headed uphill to graze.

I enjoyed seeing bison of all age ranges and sizes in this herd.

End of the road

At one overlook, we were admiring a horseshoe bend in the river…

…and odd rock pinnacles…

…when our daughter spotted something below, at the water’s edge.

A bison carcass, the horns and hide still visible. Did the animal fall off the cliff or get washed downstream, we wondered?

Meanwhile, bison remain on the move in Yellowstone, as they’ve done since prehistoric times in this amazing place.

Up next: A bonanza of even more wildlife at Yellowstone, part 3. For a look back at grizzlies and geysers in Yellowstone, part 1, click here.

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