Growing Up

A young American bison in Jester Park, Iowa, July 21, 2017. The bison was about 3 months old.

The young bison were born between April 16th and May 6th of last year. For most of the summer and the fall, they were hidden behind the adults or too far away for photographs. On June 10th, they grazed and played close to the fence early in the morning.

At 3 months old, the young bison’s fur had changed from a bright orange-brown to a muted golden-brown. By 6 months, they were almost unrecognizable. Their bodies had filled out and their fur was the same shade as their parents.

On Christmas morning, the bison herd was gathered in a shelter in the third field near the bird blind and the bird feeders.

July 21, 2017

The young American bison in Jester Park, Iowa, July 21, 2017. The bison were about 3 months old.

The young American bison in Jester Park, Iowa, July 21, 2017. The bison were about 3 months old.

October 20, 2017

A young bison in Jester Park, Iowa, October 20, 2017. The bison was about 6 months old.

The young bison and an adult bison in Jester Park, Iowa, October 20, 2017. The young bison were about 6 months old.

December 25, 2017

A young bison and adult bison in Jester Park, Iowa, December 25, 2017. The young bison was about 8 months old.

A downy woodpecker at a bird feeder in Jester Park, Iowa, December 25, 2017.

A downy woodpecker at a bird feeder in Jester Park, Iowa, December 25, 2017.

Take care and thanks for visiting.


About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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24 Responses to Growing Up

  1. They are incredibly adorable and beautiful aren’t they?

  2. zirah1 says:

    Fun to see the young bison change in color, shape and size. And what a neat surprise at the end with the cute pic and video of the downy woodpecker. I always get excited when I spot one out at the feeders I have. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! They grew up fast! It was fun to watch them grow up. 🙂 In December, they had their winter fur like the adults and look considerably larger with it. The herd was eating and resting in a shelter on Christmas morning. The bird blind with its bird feeders was just across the road and down a short path. It was a cold morning and I wasn’t dressed warmly enough. The birds and the bison were much better prepared for the cold! I sat in the bird blind out of the wind for a little while. The bird feeder with the downy woodpecker was in front near the windows of the blinds. The downy woodpeckers are a favorite of mine as well. 🙂

  3. What cute beasties when small. So good to see these and at least there is some conservation and success with breeding for the species.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! They are cute when they are little. 🙂 It was fun to watch them explore and run around. The adults are sedate until they decide to run. They can run fast when they want to. Most of the time, they meander. Understandably, the adults kept the young ones away from the fence. I was happy to be able to watch them a few times during the summer and fall.

      • They must have been amazing in their large herds but here in Europe certainly feature in ancient cave paintings so must have wandered through forest then.

        • Sarah says:

          I imagine it would have been a sight to see. I am hoping to visit Yellowstone National Park sometime. They have many bison there as well as fantastic scenery going by the photos.

          • That will be wonderful. Wonder whether you will see the wolves. I saw a fascinating documentary about their reintroduction there. National Geographic, I think.

            • Sarah says:

              Last year, I purchased maps of the area to give myself something to think about. 🙂 It will take some planning. From what I’ve read and seen, it is a remarkable place. It sounds like the wolves are pretty shy. One of DVDs in my small collection of nature DVD is PBS Nature “Christmas in Yellowstone.” I don’t know if you can find it online. I think it is interesting. I would like to go in either spring or fall out of the regular visiting season. It gets really cold there in the winter. I will look for the National Geographic documentary you mention. Thanks. 🙂

              • Will look forward to you sharing your journey and I’ll look up some more on Yellowstone. A friend wants me to go to Las Vegas for her 60 th. Last place I want to go but I then said I’d like to see the national parks and Grand Canyon. Not sure about the expense of it all. Probably do need to get a few pennies or dimes from selling my book!

                • Sarah says:

                  Las Vegas isn’t on my wish list either, but a lot of people have fun visiting there. 🙂 It does put you in the Southwest where there are spectacular nature opportunities including the Grand Canyon. I haven’t been to the Southwest or the Grand Canyon yet. I’d like to go. I have a few calendars on my walls each year for the monthly photos. I have seen some beautiful photos of places in the Southwest.

                  I hope it works out to turn your story into a book. 🙂 I really enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to a sequel! I was watching migrating ducks and geese this morning. I haven’t managed photos of them yet since they have been too far away. It was exciting to see, though. I feel like I am in a place suspended in time watching an event that has gone on for thousands of years. They follow the waterways north and the Des Moines River is one of the waterways. Jester Park is on the west side of Saylorville Lake which is formed from a dam on the Des Moines River. This morning, I saw groups of Snow Geese flying high overhead. I have only seen Snow Geese once before and that was a pair that flew overhead here where I live.

                  • That sounds wonderful to see so many geese and yes it takes us back millennia, doesn’t it. My daughter saw some not long ago and just stared up in wonder. It was over the city of Manchester but I feel we see too few flock formation flying these days where we are. There is the book ‘ The Snow Goose’ by Paul Gallico, set around WW 2. This was part of my generation and the stories we knew. Yes, I would love to visit the Grand Canyon and other wild places so just might try to afford it! I did go to Yosemite in 1999 while on a visit to San Francisco for an 80 th birthday party. It was my first trip to the States. We only had about a week but packed a lot in including the long day trip to Yosemite but it was worth it. On a coastal trip to Monterey Bay we saw lots of sea otters. There’s an article in one of our newspapers that the USA is losing a lot of its biodiversity too. And birds everywhere seem to be suffering losses so it’s good you are still seeing Snow Geese. Today I heard the cuckoo cuckooing, sound of Spring and the bird is around in these parts of Spain but quite rare now in the U.K.

                    • Sarah says:

                      It was really something to see all the birds this morning. I’ve been replaying it in my mind. I had the “Wow!” expression on my face. 🙂 I looked in my bird book and they might have been Ross’s Geese which look like Snow Geese only they are smaller. They have the same pattern on their wings which is what I noticed when I was watching them. It was cold this morning with the temperature only in the 20s with a stiff and increasing wind. I was shivering, but I didn’t want to leave. I saw at least 6 groups fly overhead during the time I was out. Magnificent! And a solitary crane. I don’t know what kind of crane it was. I heard him and looked around trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. Then, he was right over my head and gone. The photo I took was a blurry silhouette. It was definitely the shape of a crane. His call was eerie. It sounded very much like a call from times gone by. And to think I almost didn’t go because of the cold! 🙂

                      Good to hear the cuckoo is singing his song. 🙂 It was a beautiful view out of the window of your house that you included in your last post!

  4. Shady_Grady says:

    Very nice pictures Sarah. I wonder what the adult bison think of you? =)

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed the pictures. 🙂 I don’t know what they think of me. 🙂 I saw them again this morning. It was the first time back since Christmas morning. It was about 32 degrees and partly sunny which is the mildest the sunrise weather has been in a while. They were looking frosty since the wind was low and the air was slightly foggy. I saw both of the young ones and the adults. I also saw some other interesting things. I haven’t looked at the photos yet. It was refreshing to spend a couple of hours out in the fresh air listening to the birds. 🙂

  5. Jet Eliot says:

    Great to see the bison, Sarah, and their many stages of life. I am surprised to see bison in Iowa, is there a story behind this? Also liked the downy woodpecker. Thank you–

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Jet 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed seeing the bison. 🙂 I was excited and curious when I first drove by on the road in the park and saw them a couple of years ago. I thought I was going to need to go to Yellowstone National Park (which I would like to do) to see bison and there they were. 🙂 I put a summary of the history of bison and elk in Iowa in a postscript of the post “Warm and Windy” (the June 10th link above) if you are curious. Over 80% of Iowa was prairie before it was settled and both bison and elk were numerous. Jester Park was started in 1958 according to the park’s web site. The first bison and elk arrived in the park a few years later. The nice observation deck and the educational information was built in 2012. It is a county park and well used. I read in the news that the state parks have suffered budget cuts so I think it benefits from being a county park. The Des Moines River is on the east side of the park. There are a few camp grounds and trails as well as the bison and elk. There is a golf course on the south side of the park which I think is part of the park although you can’t walk on it unless you are golfing. I don’t golf so I haven’t used that area. I think most of the area wasn’t farmed because it is along the river and hilly so some of the trees are old and tall. The birds love the place. 🙂 I didn’t know what a nice place it was until the fall of 2015. My Mom came to visit and we drove around to various parks which I hadn’t been to before. I had seen the sign from the road on the way to the Iowa Arboretum, but hadn’t gone in to look. My Mom’s visit was in September and we saw many pelicans migrating south. Before then, I didn’t know the pelicans came through Iowa. I have found that it is a state full of surprises. 🙂 I went to the park for the first time this year last Wednesday and saw migrating ducks. They were all too far away for photographs, but I am going to keep checking every chance the weather allows for a while. It was fun to see them flying and floating in the lake even though they were tiny to my eyes and the camera. 🙂

      • Jet Eliot says:

        Thank you so much, Sarah, for explaining the bison mystery to me. I think this is a really great story, and I love that you are exploring Iowa and finding beautiful wilderness and wildlife.

  6. Hi Sarah, how are things with you? Hope you are keeping well and enjoying some warmer weather. Thanks for stopping by, much appreciated. Take care and much love 🙂 ❤

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Iris 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kind and happy wishes! 🙂 Spring is taking its time this year. The little wildflowers in the woods are wisely waiting a little longer before peeking their heads up over last year’s leaves. They will, though, and I am looking forward to greeting them when they do! 🙂 I have been watching the migrating ducks and geese which is quite a sight. They use the river as a guide on their way north. There are many of them. The air is full of ducks in the early morning over the river and they swim and feeding in the inlets. I love reading your poems. ❤ A peaceful happy feeling follows reading them. I hope you have a wonderful weekend! 🙂 ❤

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