American Bison calving season on Antelope Island State Park

American Bison calf and cow on Antelope Island State ParkAmerican Bison calf and cow on Antelope Island State Park – Nikon D300, f9, 1/500, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR at 350mm, natural light

Around mid-April is when the calving season of the American Bison on Antelope Island begins and yesterday I was able to get some nice images of the cows and their rusty red colored calves. Earlier last week when I first saw them they were too far from the road to photograph them so I was delighted because they were so close. There was a small traffic jam on the side of the road because of the cows and calves but everyone that I saw showed the bison respect by staying in their vehicles. When the cows have young calves it can stress them when people approach and could even lead to the cows charging the people to defend their calves.

Bison bull on Antelope IslandBison bull on Antelope Island – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 228mm, natural light

American Bison bulls have nothing to do with raising their young, they leave that to the cows. The bull often form a herd of their own after rut and don’t spend much time with the cows until it is time for their rutting season around the middle of summer.

American Bison cow and young calfAmerican Bison cow and young calf – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR at 380mm, natural light

Female American Bison weigh about 900 to 1000 pounds and when they give birth their calves can weigh as much 50 pounds or more. Within an hour of their births the calves are up and walking, thank goodness human children don’t so that, right Moms?  My oldest child walked at 9 months and that was soon enough for me! The calves in my two images are probably less than two weeks old and even though they are nursing they also graze on the grasses and they will retain their reddish color throughout their first summer.

I enjoy seeing and photographing the young calves frolicking in the grasslands on Antelope Island State Park or just watching them rest. Considering how close the American Bison came to extinction I am also grateful for those who helped to save America’s largest land mammal. Very grateful.

Mia

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.

7 Comments

  1. Jane Chesebrough

    i always enjoy seeing the babies in spring. i must get to the park east of here and check out the action.

  2. The bison always makes me think of the slaughter they suffered to make way for the railroad and the white-men, and of course moving the red-men onto reservations. Thankfully some bison survived (and Indians too). I have seen bison in Yellowstone and Antelope Island, but this is the first time I’ve seen the youngsters. Thanks for these beautiful images Mia.

  3. Mother love is mother love is mother love. Regardless of species. Stunning images.

  4. Beautiful photographs of this iconic animal. I too am glad they were saved from extinction. The calves are so cute and I love their red color and the adults are impressive (and look very serious).

  5. Beautiful Bison and calf, superb photos.

  6. Wonderful shots! The calves are so cute. Over at Ft. Peck I’ve managed some cute photos of the calves too.

  7. Mom with Baby! Beautiful photos :)

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