Photo of the Week – January 20, 2012

What’s more impressive in a prairie than a bull bison?  Standing over 6 feet tall at the shoulder, and weighing up to 2000 lbs or more, they can inspire awe, fear, and hope all at once.  While truly massive, bison are also surprisingly nimble and fast – they can run at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.

Bison bulls at The Nature Conservancy's Niobrara Valley Preserve in the sandhills of Nebraska.

These three bulls were grazing in a recently-burned portion of sandhills prairie when I came upon them while hiking last May.  I kept my distance and tried to get a few photographs of them as they slowly sauntered away – not exactly running away, but not hanging around either.  The bulls had been feeding in a recently burned portion of the prairie, and while they moved out of it to get away from me, I’m sure they returned to that lush new growth after I left them alone.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
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6 Responses to Photo of the Week – January 20, 2012

  1. Katy says:

    Great photo! I especially liked your explanation of their grazing on the recently burned area. We are planning our first burn for Fall 2012 – and it looks like our bison will enjoy the tasty results.

  2. Caroline Coleman says:

    How awesome!! What a wonderful prairie picture!

  3. Karen Hamburger says:

    I regularly make you photos my desk top backround. This is the second time this picture has graced my computer and my day. It is much clearer this time!!!!
    Thanks Chris

  4. Ted says:

    Three cheers for this great species. Long may it thrive.

  5. I like Karen’s idea. I now have the first non-ant in a long time as my wallpaper!

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