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Look Closely

Medicine Bow Mountains

This mountain range is to the southeast in this scene. Bison once lived there, too, even at high elevations.

Black-Tailed Prairie Dog

Bison kept the grass low enough for prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) to colonize: short grass is more nutritious and exposes predators.

Bison Wallow

Bison make wallows, or depressions in the soil or mud, and roll around in them in part to escape heat and insects. These shallow dishes of dirt store precious rainwater during dry periods.

Blue Grama

Like buffalograss, blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) is a drought-resistant native grass favored by bison. It has distinctive curved flowerheads. 


Bison thrived on short-grass prairies, where this short, native grass was abundant.

Brown-Headed Cowbird

Grazing bison rustle insects in the grass and cowbirds (Molothrus ater) follow closely to eat them. 

Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus

The red, nectar-filled blooms of this cactus are favored by hummingbirds. 

Colorado River

Started as two separate river systems that began carving the canyon 17 million years ago. By 6 million years ago, they joined as a single stream.

Rock Shelter

Cougars use ledges just below the canyon rim for daytime rest, but rarely traverse the mile-deep canyon. 

Deer Bones

From an old kill; cougars sometimes drag prey to secluded places to eat alone. 


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