A Week at Yellowstone’s Blacktail Pond

As I mentioned in my last blog, there were two bison carcasses in Blacktail Pond in the spring of 2010.  The first scavenger I saw there was a coyote who was standing on the carcass which was in the water next to the east edge of the pond.  However, it was the carcass in a narrow channel on the west side of the pond that became the center of attention for scavengers as well as park visitors.  The first species I saw feeding on that carcass was a grizzly sow with a two-year-old cub.  Here the cub nuzzles its mother.  It’s May 20.

A grizzly cub nuzzles its mother at Blacktail Pond.

Grizzly Sow and Cub, Yellowstone National Park

The sow and cub stayed on a ridge above Blacktail when they weren’t feeding on the carcass.  Another animal that I saw feeding on the carcass more than once was a lone wolf.  Here he is the next day standing at the narrow channel.  The bison carcass has slipped back into the water and is just under the surface.

A gray wolf stands on the edge of Blacktail Pond.

Gray Wolf, Yellowstone National Park

This wolf worked as hard as the bears to pull the carcass out of the pond and I was surprised that he seemed to get the carcass about as far out of the pond as the much larger bears, although in fairness to the sow she might have done better without her cub’s help because he always pulled at right angles to mom.

One afternoon the wolf howled after feeding which brought the sow and cub running full speed from the ridge above the pond.  Here is a photo of mom and cub right after they arrive at the carcass.  She is really “amped up,” over the wolf’s howls.  When the cub approached the carcass as she was trying to pull it up on the bank she attacked it.  More to follow.

A mother grizzly attacks her cub near a bison carcass at Blacktail pond.

Grizzly Sow Attacks Cub, Yellowstone National Park.


About Jim Coda

I am a nature photographer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I specialize in photos of birds, mammals, and landscapes.
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2 Responses to A Week at Yellowstone’s Blacktail Pond

  1. Wow, what a great experience Jim!

    • jimcoda says:

      Thanks Ron. It was. I’ve been to Yellowstone many times, but I’ve never seen so many bears as this year. The sow and cub put on a show for many visitors over a week or more.

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