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Early and late births in high-latitude populations of free-ranging Bison (Bison bison)

Thomas S. Jung, Nicholas C. Larter, Todd Powell


The timing of parturition in high-latitude populations of Bison (Bison bison) is not well documented, but previous observations have indicated that births do not start until mid-May and largely end in late June or early July, similar to those of other northern ungulates. In three high-latitude Bison populations in northwestern Canada, the onset of parturition occurred as early as late March and early April—5–6 weeks earlier than previously observed—and two isolated cases of late births occurred in mid-November and mid-December. Our observations suggest that the onset of parturition in high-latitude Bison can be earlier than previously known, and late births, while apparently rare, may occur. Determining whether our observations signal a substantial, lasting shift in the timing and, possibly, synchrony of parturition in high-latitude populations of Bison will require further monitoring for early-born calves.


Bison; Bison bison; calving; phenology; parturition

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