Yellowstone and Grand Teton – Wildlife

We wrapped up our Yellowstone unit study – WITH A TRIP TO YELLOWSTONE!!!   I have wanted to go to Yellowstone forever!  Last year I finally quit wishing and planned a trip for this fall.  It was AMAZING!  Mama Bear w/ Cubs

One of the best parts of the trip was seeing 6 Grizzly Bears in our first hour!  I had prepared the boys that we would be extremely lucky to see a bear so you can imagine our excitement when the ranger at the entrance gate said there was a bear family on a carcass about 18 miles into the park.  The picture is a bit blurry because they were really far away.  Our binoculars allowed us to see an incredible scene.  The mama and her three cubs were feeding on this carcass with ravens all around.

Lamar Valley - Male Grizzly Approaching

Then we spotted a male grizzly approaching.

Male Bear circling Mama Bear with cubs and carcass

He circled around and eventually challenged the mama bear.  We actually  heard them vocalize!Mama Bear nursing cubs

She decided to give up the tasty bit of carrion, led her cubs a short distance away and began nursing them.

Lamar Valley - Bears

One last picture of the beautiful Lamar Valley, so my mom knows we weren’t in any danger.  The bears were out beyond the trees.  Good thing we had binoculars!

Once we were about another mile down the road E spotted another grizzly headed in the general direction of the scene.  The boys were so excited.

Bald Eagle - Upper Falls of Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

The next morning we saw a bald eagle nesting in the canyon.  We watched it for several minutes before it flew right over our heads.

Osprey and Raven in Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

In the afternoon we spotted a young osprey defending its nest against a raven.

Pika

Another day we took a side trip to the Grand Tetons where we saw a  PIKA!!!  We had seen them in a documentary, so I was thrilled when I heard one peeping high up in a rocky area.  Just like in the documentary, it was busy bringing grass back to its burrow.  These little guys are amazingly fast and completely adorable.  It sort of reminded me of a chinchilla.

Moose

As we were leaving that evening we saw several cars pulled over to watch something which turned out to be a few moose.  Again it was a good thing we had binoculars but the kids were very excited.

Coyote Hunting Dinner

Further up the road we spotted a coyote hunting his dinner.  C really wanted to see a wolf, so he is holding on to the possibility it was a lone wolf.   Unfortunately we didn’t see a wolf pack.

In Mammoth Springs we saw lots of Elk and we even heard them bugle in the early morning.  Of course there were lots of bison, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and pronghorns.  No marmots this trip, but the pika more than made up for it.

It was such a thrill to actually go to Yellowstone and Grand Teton and see so many of the animals we have been studying.  Seeing the animals free in their natural habitat is so much more exciting than viewing them in a zoo.  We really had to use our knowledge to help us stay alert for the animals we might see.

Stay tuned for posts on the thermal features and hiking the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone”.

Thanks to Kris for hosting the Weekly Wrap-Up!

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9 thoughts on “Yellowstone and Grand Teton – Wildlife

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