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 “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” – Crowfoot saying.

Favorite Places

Author Bob Sanchez http://bobsanchez1.blogspot.com/commented that he

One of my favorite shots of an American bison is this one of the large animal taking a dust bath on Antelope Island, which is one of my favorite places. -- Photo by Pat Bean

liked yesterday’s photo of the bison mother and nursing calf that stopped traffic in South Dakota’s Custer State Park. As an aside he noted that since these lumbering creatures can be dangerous, he was glad I took the photo through the windshield of my RV, Gypsy Lee.

His cautionary words jogged one of my brain wires to replay, in vivid detail, an incident back in the 1970s that involved my then 10-year-old daughter, Trish. She, I and my son, Mike, were visiting Yellowstone, where we had stayed the night in the Old Faithful Inn.

Antelope Island bison with a view of the Wasatch Mountains on the far side of Great Salt Lake. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Antelope Island bison with a view of the Wasatch Mountains on the far side of Great Salt Lake. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Back then, there was a small cafe located adjacent to the Inn, where the three of us had breakfast. Trish finished first and asked if she could go outside and look around.

“Stay close,” I said in my mother’s voice.

When Mike and I went outside about 10 minutes later, my heart stopped. While Trish hadn’t gone far, she was standing beside a huge bison that had settled down on some warm sand – and was petting it.

Along with bison, chukars are easy to find on Antelope Island. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Thankfully her guardian angel was looking over her. Not only did she escape without harm from the wooly creature, her mother was too relived she was safe to punish her.

My travels the past seven years have often taken me in sight of these great animals that once roamed across North America’s grasslands in great herds before we humans killed them to the brink of extinction. Perhaps it’s because they were so rare for so long that many people today get so excited when they see one.

I was fortunate that before I retired and left Ogden, Utah, I saw them regularly on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake.

I used the island, which has a high claim on my long list of favorite North American places, as my Birding 101 Lab. That’s the thing about being a birder. If you’re looking for tiny things, you’ll never miss all the big ones.

*While we may call this creature a buffalo which I did in yesterday’s blog because it is a term everyone understands, the animal that is found in North America is a bison, an American bison to be specific.

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 What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”Crowfoot saying

 

Tangerine frosting coats the clouds as a tall poplar tree looks out over an Idaho sunset. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

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