Posts Tagged ‘Yellowstone National Park


Bears and Wolves

The bison carcass had been there for three days.  The bears feasted, the wolves waited and other carrion gathered.  Several hundred people gathered every day to watch the bears and each morning I went out to photograph them.  These photos are from the day the fog drifted in.

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The large white wolf was easy to see.  Much harder to see is the grey wolf laying right next to it.  What I didn’t realize, until I did some research on the bears of Yellowstone, was these bears are doing something new and maybe even unique to the bears of Yellowstone.  Grizzly bears will usually get territorial over a food source and not let other bears or animals near.

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A group of grizzlies gathering to feast at the same food source as in the picture above is believed to be caused by the wolves.  The wolves are so good at bringing down bison that there is plenty of food for all the big predators in Yellowstone to share.

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Wolves are a recent and controversial reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park, because unlike humans, wolves do not understand man-made boundaries.  The wolves wander outside the park and threaten farm animals and livestock, not to mention the fear they invoke in people.

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Bison in the Campground

Bison are everywhere in Yellowstone.  Several big males wandered through the campground like this one.

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Out of the Morning Fog

It had rained the night before, so the morning dawned cold and foggy.  I had decided to drive to the bison carcass, knowing I would at least see grizzlies and maybe even some wolves.  When I got to the carcass about a dozen bears circled around it, some feeding, some nervously waiting, and wolves waited nearby.  Slowly the fog rolled in shrouding the carcass.  The best light of the day was rising and I impatiently watched as the bears and wolves disappeared, so I decided to drive down the road where I had seen a big bear two days before.  I didn’t get far.  I turned a corner and several cars had stopped.  I could see a dark shape emerging from the foggy hilltop.  A small female grizzly, my guess; two to three years old, searched the hillside for grubs.

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She would paw at the ground, sniff around and paw at the ground some more.

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I had guessed right.  The large grizzlies dominated the carcass while the smaller grizzlies gravitated outward seeking other sources of food, bringing this one close to the roadside.

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I suppose I should tear myself away from the wildlife and check out the sights like Old Faithful, but then again, I already know I’m not a good tourist, so, why should I?

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Because maybe this was my best opportunity to get a close-up of a grizzly, in which case, damn the fog!


Bison Die

In the photograph below you can see two brown shapes.  The one on the right is a dead bison.  How he died?  I do not know.  The brown shape to the left is a full-grown grizzly approaching for breakfast.

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Over the next several days many hundreds if not thousands of people gathered to watch the spectacle as grizzlies, wolves, birds and other carrion gathered to feast on this dead bison.


Bison Wallow

During the Summer flies and mosquitoes pester the living hell out of every breathing thing in North America.  Bison have developed a method to rid themselves of these pests called wallowing.  The series of photos below shows a full-grown male bison wallowing in order to rid himself of pesky insects.

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Bison Swim

The Yellowstone River runs through the section of Yellowstone National Park near where I stayed at Bridge Bay Campground.  The Yellowstone River runs cold, fast and deep.  During the time I stayed in the area it claimed the lives of at least two people.

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I wasn’t surprised to see bison swimming across the Yellowstone, but it did give me some action to show in the photos.

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Full-grown male bison can weigh as much as 2000 pounds (over 900 kilos).

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From these photos you can see they sink almost completely under when they swim, with just their backs and their noses remaining out of the water.

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They are also powerful enough to swim straight across the river.  They didn’t drift with the current.

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Even the big bison below powered his way straight across the river.

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August 2020

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