Saturday, August 8, 2020

Forest Bison - Buffalo Calves

Forest Bison


An enduring symbol of the Great Plains, the American Bison was driven to the brink of extinction during Westward Expansion. After a modest recovery, they can now be found in a woodland that adorns Colorado’s Front Range foothills.


The mountain herd roams through a labyrinth of sharp slopes, draws, gulches and ravines that comprise Genesee Park. There is lots of activity at the forest’s edge where this year’s spirited younglings kick, buck, run and play from dawn until dusk.


Born in May, the precocious devils are born into the world big and agile. The whole congregation is pretty protective and the cows collectively take care of the calves for about a year.


They are reddish-orange at birth but their coloring gradually deepens in concert with the development of their fierce independence. On this warm summer evening, the different individuals engage in various behaviors such as resting, grazing and rock climbing.


The easy-going adults move efficiently through the timber as they’ve adapted wonderfully to their high altitude home. Even during the harsh winter, these confident creatures bulldoze through deep snow and conquer the steepest hills.


Taking his cue from the long shadows that creep across the landscape in low light, the dominant bull guides his scruffy flock into a deep valley. Vanishing below an array of pale peaks, the last of the buffalo fades quietly into the gloaming like a dark apparition.


Found in a woodland

An enduring symbol

Calves are born in May

A deep valley

They kick, buck and play

They are reddish-orange at birth

They've adapted wonderfully

The whole congregation is protective

A bull guides his flock

Resting calves

An array of pale peaks

Genesee Park

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