(Posted June 10, 2014)
By Andrea Cordle, staff writer
The first baby bison at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park has arrived.
The calf was born May 28.
“We are almost sure it is a female,” said Tim Taylor, a naturalist at Battelle Darby. “It is cute and it frolics.”
Taylor said the staff at Darby does not officially name the bison, but he said some have nicknamed the little cow “Red-dog” because of its light reddish coloring.
In 2011, Battelle Darby introduced six female bison to roam on nearly 50 acres of prairie grass. Last year, they brought on a bull with the hope of reproduction.
It may not be long before the newest addition has a playmate. Taylor said other bison might be pregnant.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed,” he said.
The herd has already accepted the calf.
“The whole herd can be very protective of their young,” said Taylor. “It’s not just the mother.”
Female bison can carry a baby for about nine months. Taylor said usually there is only one calf, but occasionally there may be twins. Calves are born in the spring and summer. They weigh around 45 pounds at birth.
“They are the largest land mammals in North America, so they grow pretty fast,” he said.
The bison have been very popular at the park. The staff expects an increase in visitation with the new arrival. However, Taylor cautions patrons not to get too excited.
“Like any young animal, it sleeps a lot,” he said.
The calf sleeps in tall grass, making it difficult to spot. As the calf grows, so will its activity level.
“We just have to give it time,” Taylor said.
To celebrate the joyous occasion, the Friends of Metro Parks will host a Bison Baby Shower from 10 a.m. to noon June 14 at the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Nature Center, 1415 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway.
Food, refreshments and activities are planned. Baby gifts are not necessary, but there will be a “baby shower registry” to help support the Metro Parks bison program.
The park will also host a bison event at 1 p.m. June 15 where patrons can learn about the bison and take a walk with a naturalist to see the herd.
For more information on the bison baby shower or the bison program, visit www.metroparks.net.