2023—Our National Mammal

It’s been 16 days since I last posted to In Focus Daily. I believe that is the longest hiatus since I started the blog on January 1, 2011. More about that in a future post. But now, I’m back! And, not only am I back, I’m back in Yellowstone National Park where only a few days remain before the park closes for the season. Much of the fall color has disappeared, the result of a windstorm here a week or so ago. And the weather hasn’t been cold enough yet to push most of the critters from the high country downslope, where they will roam throughout the park finding sustenance to survive the winter. On our first morning, we saw a single coyote crossing the road in the dim dawn light and later, deep in the Lamar Valley, a dozen or more Wolfers, scopes deployed, were eying one of four wolves from what we believe is the recently formed Shrimp Lake Pack. I was the only one of our group still trying to find the microdot sized wolf in the distance when it disappeared into the forest. There were a few members of Yellowstone’s iconic Bison herds dotting the meadows and hillsides but they are still making their way down. We did finally discover a lone Bison bull laying on his side near the edge of Grand Loop Road (Hwy. 89) and appearing to be dead. We watched for a few minutes when his massive side finally heaved and we realized that if he were a dead beast of that size, it would not be long before he was devoured by the Wolves, Grizzlies, Coyotes, Bald Eagles, Ravens, Turkey Vultures, Magpies, and all of the other park inhabitants that rely on dead critters for sustenance. Soon, he stirred and rolled over, then he waited a while before rising and lumbering off. He was just taking a nap. That’s our national mammal, Bison Bison Bison.

Leave a Reply