PAWHUSKA, Okla. — Spring in Oklahoma means baby bison!
Officials spotted the first bison calf of 2021 yesterday morning being bashful and walking closely alongside its mother at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska.
“This bundle of joy arrived a bit earlier than normal,” said Bob Hamilton, Tallgrass Prairie Preserve Director. “Typically, bison calves arrive around Easter weekend. Doing the math, that means this calf’s mom was bred in June–bison have a 9.5-month gestation period. We suspect that its early arrival is due to good forage conditions last summer, which may have triggered early breeding. Additionally, minus the February cold spell, it was a pretty mild winter–so that may be a factor in its early arrival as well. Either way, we look forward to this exciting day each year!”
Preserve staff expects another 500-600 baby bison this spring. They said now is a great time to visit the preserve to view the babies along with the 2,100 adult bison that roam freely.
Young bison are fun to watch as they can be playful. Visitors may see calves frolicking, chasing, battling, butting, kicking, and racing. Such activity aids muscle development and coordination later in life.
The preserve is open daily from dawn to dusk with no charge for admittance and accessed via county roads. There are free-ranging bison herds, scenic turnouts, hiking trails, and picnic tables. The gift shop/visitor center is currently closed. Visitors are urged to stay in their cars during visits.
The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is the largest protected remnant of tallgrass prairie left in the world. Learn more by visiting nature.org/tallgrass.
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