A virtual view of the Fermilab bison herd through new bison cam

Fans of the Fermilab bison herd, rejoice: Fermilab has installed a web camera in the laboratory’s bison pasture. Now you can watch the storied herd 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A fresh perspective: Fermilab’s new bison camera will now enable viewers to see the bison at any time of day, seven days a week. Photo: Fermilab

The first bison herd at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory was introduced to the grounds in 1969. It consisted of a bull and four cows. Today, the herd comprises nearly 30 bison.

Since their arrival, countless visitors have come to Fermilab to see the animals. The birth of the season’s first baby bison calves always makes the local news and is a proud moment for the lab. In 2015, former Fermilab ecologist Ryan Campbell received results from a genetic study that concluded the lab’s herd was 100% bison, with no evidence of cattle genes. And in 2016, bison were declared the national mammal of the United States through the National Bison Legacy Act.

In 2016, bison were declared the national mammal of the United States through the National Bison Legacy Act.

The new Fermilab bison cam provides multi-directional camera capability and offers an image of the herd that’s updated every 15 minutes. To see a new view, viewers should refresh their browsers, use the arrows to select a different perspective, or choose the time-lapses option that provides a glimpse into the herd’s activity at quarter-of-the-hour intervals throughout the day. With the new webcam, viewers offsite now will be able to watch the bison feed, sleep, walk and shake off snow. Viewers can also observe other remarkable behaviors, such as moments when the dominant female leads the herd out to pasture to graze. If fans are lucky, they may even get to see a bison give birth this April through May.

Every spring, new bison calves are born on the Fermilab grounds. Webcam visitors can now get a view of the herd and track the new additions as they arrive. Photo: William Alvarez, Fermilab

“We’re thrilled to provide this window into the lives of our bison herd, their habits and movements,” said Maureen Hix of the Fermilab Education and Public Engagement Office. “These impressive, magnificent creatures have been part of the lab’s history and reflect the amazing legacy of Indigenous people. They are wonderful to see in-person, but the next best thing is to watch them in real time on your screen. We hope that viewers will enjoy this opportunity to bring these amazing animals into their homes!”

Check out the bison through Fermilab’s new bison cam.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and its ecology and wildlife efforts are supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.