For this discussion post, I went outside to hunt down some animals for photo purposes. Unfortunately, I found only magpies and robins, and they REALLY weren’t holding still for my impromptu photo session. Or at the very least, they were hidden in the thick branches of trees. So rather than use unidentifiable photos of birds, I scrolled back through my picture gallery in my phone. In August of 2022, I visited Antelope Island in Davis County, Utah. Since I also live in Davis County, it was an easy trip. Antelope Island is a nature preserve, home to big game such as Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, mule deer, Pronghorn, and one of the only herds of genetically pure Plains bison in the United States. The herd is 500-700 strong, depending on the time of year, and since the island is so small (and there’s only one way OFF the island without swimming), it’s pretty easy to see them. Therefore, that’s what I chose to enter into iNaturalist (account name amym)! I already had a ton of photos of the bison herd, but one in particular was perfect:

Plains bison on Antelope Island, Utah

In this photograph, you can clearly tell the sex of the animal and the habitat in which it lives. This particular bison’s age was unknown, and I definitely wasn’t getting close enough to tell, but it was one of the larger ones in the herd, leading me to believe that it was an older male. I took this photo on Aug 4, 2022 at 6 pm, and the weather was roughly 90 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny at the time. This guy definitely wasn’t alone – he was surrounded by at least 200 others. They were on the east side of the island, trying to drink from the freshwater springs that can be found there. This bison was a little higher up on the hill, which is why you don’t see water in the photo – and he was quite a distance from me, so I had to zoom in.

I did the “Compare” feature on iNaturalist, but I really couldn’t figure out how it worked – was I supposed to compare my photo to another user’s photo?? Or data?? Nevertheless, I took this photo of a Wood bison in March of 2021 at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood, Alaska so you can see the difference between the Plains bison of Utah to the Wood bison of Alaska:

Wood bison at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

The Wood bison is larger in size than the Plains bison and tends to have a thicker hide with longer hair to keep them warm. And while the Plains bison originally took up virtually all of the United States in range, the Wood bison are mainly located within the Yukon Territories and Alaska.

Also, just for a great demonstration of why the pictures I took of a magpie and what I think was a robin wouldn’t actually work on this post, here you go:

Magpie within a tangle of branches
I think that’s a robin? I saw a robin near this tree, anyway.

3 Thoughts to “Data and Museums Discussion”

  1. MoHagani Magnetek

    Yes, that’s how the compare button works. It took me a second to figure it out but you basically have to sort through the photos uploaded by other observers to see which one best matches your photo for a comparison. Have you received an ID’s yet? I like this site and I plan to upload more future observations whenever I can. Pretty cool bison pics too bad the magpies was hard for you to photograph. I find video recording is the easiest way to catch any type of birds. I’m always taking videos of ravens

  2. Maxine Laberge

    I love these photos of the bison! It is super interesting that you can study them so closely!

  3. Kai Doak

    These are great pictures! I enjoyed reading through your observations and the comparison. I am having trouble finding your post on INaturalist, I might be missing something though!

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