Spring is the season of rebirth in Yellowstone as the further Old Man Winter retreats the more Mother Nature replenishes her domain with new offspring. Not the least of these is the bison. Yellowstone contains the only wild bison herd which has populated the country since prehistoric times. While there are some +400K of bison residing in our nation very few of them are wild herds as resides in Yellowstone.
Yellowstone’s herds (est. @ 4500) normally give birth in April and May. Although there are births much later in the season, those calves have a significantly lesser chance of surviving the harsh winters. Even the early spring births have a hard time with the winters with a mortality rate of near 40% their first year. Bison are steady breeders with the average female producing one calf, sometimes twins, each year after reaching maturity at two years.
Springtime bison herds are full of these reddish bundles of energy which are fondly called “red dogs”, or in the local vernacular “red dawgs”, because of their reddish color. Spending much of their day in their three favorite pursuits….nursing, sleeping, and play, they are particularly a joy to watch when at the latter. Their playtime romps, mock battles, and foot races are a pleasure to both watch and photograph.