Male bison "bellow" in order to announce their presence and establish dominance in a herd. During the mating season or "rut," bellowing becomes more prevalent, creating a signature sound of midsummer in Yellowstone. Take a drive with Jennifer Jerrett across the park's Northern Range as she goes on a listening safari for the sounds of bison.
So, I’m out here in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley. I’m not too far from the Lamar Ranger Station or what was historical known as the Buffalo Ranch, and I gotta say this is absolutely my favorite place in the park. It is gorgeous. It’s this wide, open valley surrounded by grassy hills, sagebrush, and some high mountains off in the distance. And, right now, in mid-summer, it is covered in bison. There has to be several hundred animals out here right now. It’s just a really impressive sight.
So, it’s the bison rut, or the mating season, and while these animals are out here doing their thing and trying to attract mates, they have some really pretty charismatic behavioral displays. But, it’s the vocalizations or bellows that are so prevalent this time of year that I think are so cool. So, I’m out here to check it out.
Oh, yeah, here we go. It’s a bison jam. (Laughs) They’re crossing the road.
(Sound of turn signal and car doors opening)
(Bison grunting sounds, with periodic bird chirps)
It’s the males that are making that grunting noise, and every time they did it, they stick their tongues out. So, it’s just the wildest thing to watch.
(Bison grunts and bird chirps)
Wow, pretty spectacular. Crazy about these animals. I’m Jennifer Jerrett and I’m an associate editor for Yellowstone Science here in Yellowstone National Park.