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Meet Burlee

Hi, I’m Burlee and my family came to the Nachusa Grasslands in October of 2014 from one of the three preserves owned by The Nature Conservancy. I know the over 1,500 acres of woodlands and wetlands like the back of my cloven hoofs. As much as I love my home here at the Grasslands, I want to explore new and fun adventures throughout Lee County. Keep your eyes peeled. You never know where I may show up around the county. 

Meet My Family

My family came to Nachusa Grasslands came from The Nature Conservancy preserves in South Dakota, Iowa and Missouri. Even though we are called cattle, bulls, cows and calves, we have been tested and show no traces of cattle genes. The Nature Conservancy is committed to keeping us bison as wild as possible, within the constraints of available space and human safety. In order to keep our wild side intact, we receive very little veterinary care: mostly just a once-a-year checkup at the fall roundup. Weather extremes, parasites, potential predators, and herd social dynamics are all realities for us here at Nachusa Grasslands.

Throughout the year, there are about 100 bison in our herd. About two to three dozen calves are born every year, from April through June. The baby calves are born with a rusty, orange coat and weigh about 50 pounds at birth. They are able to move with the herd within just a few hours after birth.

The earlier they are born, the better chance of survival, and those born in earlier spring often grow into larger and more dominant adults.

Calves run around and play hard … then power nap. They nurse for about seven months and sometimes longer and are usually weaned in about one year. The animals breed, birth, feed, and care for themselves without human intervention.

After we’re weaned we eat mostly grass and plants, and we are kind of picky about which ones. And we love burnt grass after a fire; all that nitrogen makes it delicious! You can find out more about our diet here.

Even though we love healthy plants, we grow up to be the largest mammals in North America! Males can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and are 6 feet tall! Find more facts about bison here.

Hopefully I’ll see you at Nachusa Grasslands or exploring the rest of Lee County soon!

Learn more about Nachusa Grasslands

Burlee Fun Facts

We don’t bother with calendars, but it was bright and sunny, so I would guess it was a Sunday.

I’m tall enough to see over the fence, but not tall enough to jump it!

Favorite Color
I’m partially color blind, but the world looks beautiful to me!

Favorite Food
I really enjoy burnt grass after a fire. I bet it tastes the same as marshmallows over a campfire! I’ve been meaning to make some s’mores out of it!

Favorite Movie
Bisontennial Man” with Robin Williams (Did I spell that right?)

Favorite TV Show
“Little House on the Prairie,” of course!

Favorite Song
“Home on the Range” … where the deer and the antelope (and the bison) play!

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