The bison herd at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Wilmington just got a little bit bigger.
The reserve announced the birth of the first bison calf of the season – after getting visual evidence. The Midewin staff spotted the calf with the rest of the herd on their bison camera, according to a post on the reserve’s Facebook page last month.
The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is hosting a Natural Resources Expo this weekend and is encouraging visitors to come out for the festivities and keep an eye out for the calf or other new additions to the herd.
The bison have been a big attraction at Midewin since the herd’s arrival in October 2015, but they can be elusive, considering they roam a 1,200-acre area, according to a news release from the Will County Forest Preserve. In 2016, the Bison Cam was installed to help provide a real-time view of the herd.
The bison are at the reserve as a 20-year experiment in conservation. Their grazing pattern is being monitored to determine if the varied grass lengths encourage the return of native Illinois plants and birds.
While the Iron Bridge Trailhead is closest to the herd’s grazing area, visitors also can access Midewin via the Forest Preserve District’s Wauponsee Glacial Trail. The Midewin-Wauponsee Trailhead, which opened in 2015 and was created through a partnership between the Forest Preserve District of Will County and the U.S. Forest Service, is located at the intersection of Hoff Road and the glacial trail.