The Bison Range truly comes alive in spring. The native intermountain grassland bursts into color as native wildflowers carpet the hillsides with balsamroot, yellowbells, lupine and paintbrush. The air is scented with the blossoms of serviceberry, chokecherry, and wild rose.
Mountain bluebirds and western meadowlarks will start showing up at the Bison Range as early as March, depending on weather conditions. Nest boxes for the bluebirds (which are also used by tree swallows) are found along the fences near the Visitor Center. Early season birdwatching can be easier because trees and bushes haven’t fully leafed. And the birds are in full voice, singing for territories and mates.
Best of all, bison calves are born mid-April to mid-May. They carry a rusty red coat until they are about 2 months old. Pronghorn give birth in May, but are harder to see as they are kept well hidden until they are able to run fast enough to avoid predators. Bison babies don’t have that problem as they have 800-1000 pound mothers to protect them.
We’ll celebrate International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, May 11, 2013 by opening Red Sleep Mountain Drive for the summer season, weather and road conditions permitting, of course.