Yellowstone Wildlife

We spent three full days in Yellowstone National Park, so we had plenty of time to drive around both of the main loops and observe so much wildlife everywhere! The most plentiful species you’re likely to see at Yellowstone is the Bison.

Yellowstone Bison 1

 

There are several thousand here, and the herd is really thriving, so much so that they do annual culls to keep the population manageable and make sure this massive park can sustain them in perpetuity.

Yellowstone Bison 2

 

 

This time of year, still early spring this far north, is when many of the animals in Yellowstone are venturing out with their young, foraging for food and in the case of the Bison, traveling to new grazing grounds for the summer.

 

Yellowstone Bison 3

The Bison roam freely through the park, along and across natural areas, hiking trails, and paved roads – It is up to the park visitor to give them the distance they need (and will demand) to avoid an unpleasant confrontation.)

Yellowstone is just full of diverse species – We strained our necks daily, scanning in all directions for the next amazing sighting, like these:

Bighorn Sheep

 

 

 

 

Bighorn Sheep

Elk

Elk

Coyote

Coyote

 

Mule Deer
Mule Deer

 

Baby Moose
Young Female Moose

Black Bear Cubs

Black Bear Cubs

 

We saw seven bears altogether, but except for the cubs we observed in a tree, we were always taken by surprise (and always in the car) so we weren’t able to take pictures, since the National Park Service is very strict about distances visitors must keep between themselves and the animals as well as mandating a “no stopping” policy for taking pictures when something great appears as you are driving past – Not everyone observes this policy, but we did, so we only have memories of the two Grizzly and four Black Bears we saw at Yellowstone.Pahaska Tepee

(The seventh bear, another Grizzly, we observed over several days just across a stream from our lodge in the Shoshone National Forest a couple of miles outside Yellowstone.)

We also saw waterfowl, songbirds and raptors (swans, geese, ducks, eagles, hawks, and crows along with multiple smaller birds we didn’t identify). To say Yellowstone is packed with wildlife is an understatement – It is just amazing to drive through this park and see animals without restraints or restrictions, living with only the encumbrance of humans gawking at them every day, but still able to move freely to places restricted for humans when they want to avoid our incessant attention.

LookingforCritters

We spent several hours on our last evening in Yellowstone just sitting in or near our car on a quiet stretch of road alongside Lamar Valley. This is an area recognized for great wildlife viewing – We were there specifically to look for moose and wolves, who are not as abundant as Bison and deer, we found out. Sadly, we didn’t see either that evening, but it was such a wonderful experience, just sitting in the quiet watching the sun go down over the wild and amazing world of Yellowstone National Park.

Lamar Valley

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