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You Can't Roller-Skate In A Buffalo Herd

USA | Thursday, 30 April 2020 | Views [171]

"No Roller Skating" Rocky Mountain Arsenal

WHEN YOU SAY "BUFFALO" MOST PEOPLE THINK OF YELLOWSTONE National Park. But a substantial herd of American Bison — buffalo are native only to Africa and Asia — are thriving at Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver.  


            Imagine what a male would look like this close.  Don't honk!

From the original 16 relocated from the Montana's National Bison Range in 2007 and supplemented by others from different genetic stock, a herd of about 180 "pure" bison graze in the Refuge today.  Bison are huge, males can weigh up to a ton while females go “only” about 1200 pounds. We saw about half of the herd today plus some recent additions — calfs can weigh in at 30 to 70 pounds at birth.


                    The Nursery at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

We were looking for one of the resident Burrowing Owls and weren’t disappointed.  Unlike their larger cousin, the Great Horned Owl, burrowing owls sit on the ground outside their burrow and like their neighbor prairie dogs, can disappear in a second.  This guy wasn’t at all shy, swiveling his head from side to side to stare at the half-dozen cameras focused on them only meters away.


                Don't ask "Who?" Burrowing Owl

It wasn’t only the Refuge’s bison who were busy reproducing.  Newly hatched goslings imprinted on their Canada Goose parents, hustling after them like little yellow puffballs while Red-winged Blackbirds gave their distinctive squawk from the cattails.  


               Canada Goose with "Chicklets"

My favorite photo of the day, however, was of a Swainson’s Hawk that flew from the fencepost as I was taking his picture.  


                    Swainson's Hawk in flight

Sometimes you get lucky.



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