Stranger than fiction

Did you ever notice that truth sometimes seems so bizarre, it would never pass for credible fiction? Watching and learning about bison calves had that effect on me. Here’s six observations:

_T6C5010, bison, buffalo, calf, lying down

It’s not easy reaching those itchy spots.

1. We drove the roads of Yellowstone a number of days and couldn’t help but notice bison.

One day we came upon a newborn bison – it was the first one we saw. From that moment on there were baby bison all over the countryside – like they all showed up the same day! Can you image the logistics of trying to co-ordinate that?

2. The first thing I noticed was that calves were the wrong colour. How did they end up a different colour then every other bison? It made me wonder if something hadn’t gone quite right or maybe they weren’t quite done yet.

3. Just imagine the shock from the calf’s perspective. It wakes up in the morning comfortably tucked inside mom and by coffee break it’s time to go for a run in a neighbourhood with coyotes and wolves. To think that this new-born could be up and around and keep up with other bison in a few hours is miraculous. Would anyone believe that?

_MG_8092, bison, buffalo, calf

I wonder what they are thinking at this moment?

4. There obviously is a bond with mothers in most species. But imagine you are this small calf looking at your mother’s face for the first time. It’s big, huge actually, unbelievably hairy …. and she even has horns? Your first thot might be – that is a face only a baby could love. If someone was trying to scare the life out of this poor little thing, what could you possibly add?

5. I noticed bison calves carefully followed their mothers around and the moms didn’t even need to look back. While it makes perfect sense, it doesn’t necessarily happen in other species. Take humans for example. I see a lot of toddlers taking off in the opposite direction the first chance they get. It doesn’t always end well.

6. And finally these calves were, for lack of a better word, cute. Which is to say they didn’t look anything like their mothers or the random old guys that were lying around in the dirt. The old folks have their own unique attraction but I would be hard pressed to call it cute. How did they end up with cute calves?

I’m thinking this next generation of bison is going to be one fine-looking herd! At least that is believable.

_MG_8086, bison, buffalo, calf, road

Knobby knees stops on the road to check out the vehicles.

_T6C4726, bison, buffalo, calf, new born, after birth

We arrived just after the main event – we were told the calf had been born 10 minutes before.


Following close to mom.



Latest Comments

  1. mflahertyphoto says:

    Great description Lyle. One great thing about going there in Spring is the babies. Knobby knees is way too cute!


  2. kenkiz says:

    superbe cette serie


  3. Mary says:

    How sweet! Wonderful post, love your narrative.


  4. Fotografin Thee Ballmer says:

    your photos touch my heart. I’m the first person in the line who wants to adopt these babies:-) Neat like always.
    have great weekend, Thee


  5. Carol Dunnigan says:

    Excellent images!


  6. sagescenery says:

    Wonderful post!! Fantastic photos…felt like I was right there with you!!


  7. Stefano says:

    Love the one with calf and grown up face to face: a father and son moment a la Cat Stevens! 😉


  8. Phil Lanoue says:

    They are not just cute but super cute! But I also think mom is a looker too. I just might have soft spot for big critters that others may consider ugly though. 🙂 Terrific pics.


  9. doraiswamyganesh says:

    Dear Lyle, As always your shots are superb.I agree that all little ones are cute at birth.The beauty of divinity. Regards, Ganesh.


  10. Carol Skelton says:

    Did you get to see the calves run and play? They bounce like Tigger, it is so cute. They are magical animals and were created to survive the harsh weather they live in. I wish we still had some. Fantastic pictures as usual and I hope you are planning on a book.


    • lylekrahn says:

      I love Tigger! They weren’t really running and playing too much. Perhaps they were too young? It is quite remarkable how well suited they are for the harsh environment. Glad you liked the photos. I’m not sure about the book …


  11. Honie Briggs says:

    Wonderful! I wish we’d seen the bison on Catalina close enough to capture images of these amazing creatures. We saw four on a distant ridge line, too far away.


  12. choppy123 says:

    Yes the babies are really cute, but the mums have pretty cute faces as well, just a pity about the horns and hunchback 😉


  13. vanbraman says:

    Great pictures and commentary. I have seen a calf born, but only to just a regular old cow :-).


    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks. I was sorry we got there a few minutes late so we missed it. Bringing new life into the world really is a miracle as I’m sure that old cow demonstrated.


  14. sherijkennedyriverside says:

    Great series of photos and fun commentary. I especially like knobby knees and the siblings, though Monster Mom is pretty awesome too. 🙂


  15. Seenorway says:

    Fantastic pictures, Lyle! Really something to cheerish!


  16. Mind Margins/Run Nature says:

    A few summers ago we saw the most amazing sight in Yellowstone. It was dusk and traffic was stopped to let a huge herd of bison mothers and their calves cross the road. As if on some silent cue, the bison mothers decided to swim across the Yellowstone River to the other side. The calves had no choice but to follow. The sound of the crossing was almost as spectacular as the sight of the mothers calling their calves to swim to the other side with them. It was a magical experience I’ll never forget.


  17. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    I haven’t been by in a while, and I’m glad I came back to this post, Lyle. Your interpretation of these marvelous creatures you come across is terrific, as usual.


  18. Deb W. Trotter says:

    Great shots and observations! Those little guys are very cute – they look like a different species!!


  19. renxkyoko says:

    Wonderful post. And the baby bison is indeed adorable.


  20. Mike Powell says:

    The best compliment that I could give the adults (and even the mom) is that they are “ruggedly handsome.” The calves, though, definitely are cute. The continuing series of shots from your trip to Yellowstone may force me to add it to my list of places that I must visit.


    • lylekrahn says:

      I like the ruggedly handsome description! I had a lot of photo opportunities at Yellowstone so it gave me some blog fodder to tide me me over for awhile. The best set of photos is yet to come. It is a special park in your country. It might be time to get out of the city.


  21. Pam says:

    I love bison! We lucked into lots of newborns in the Tetons in May one year. Lovely post and well written.


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