Friday, December 5, 2014

Silent Visitors

      My skating buddy, Bob, was taking it easy one afternoon when he noticed something in his yard. A quick look and he recognized his visitors. Six mule deer had dropped into his place to have a quick lunch when Bob caught them. His camera wasn't handy  but he did get a couple of fine photos of his visitors. 

Everybody seems to be finding lots to eat

The are eating sunflower hulls and spillage from the bird feeder

      These are mule deer. Notice the huge ears. Right now they are in their dark winter colors and have a heavy coat. They are also in good condition so have a fair bit of fat. Since these are does and fawns, I'm thinking that there must be a buck nearby since it's rutting season.

     When I first came here in 1969, we never thought about seeing a deer in the city. There probably were one or two that mistakenly wandered into the city. We have a lot of interconnected park space. A major river runs through the center of the city. It gives the deer a good corridor through  many areas. 

     Gradually over the years we found more and more deer in the city. For the last 20 years it's been very common to see deer in the city. Now they wander through our yards and help themselves to what ever they feel like as in this case they helped themselves to Bob's bird feeder.

     Deer are smarter than we give them credit for. They can pick places that provide food and cover. Cities have those two features in abundance. Deer also know that some of their predators won't come into the  city. Dogs are well under control in the city so some of the bigger dogs that might chase deer can't. 

    Deer have also grown accustomed to city lights and traffic. We used to talk about "a deer in the head lights." When deer were caught in the headlights in darkness they were blinded and usually didn't move. Deer will still do silly things in traffic but I have seen some incidents where they seem to watch for traffic. I saw a deer trying to cross a four lane road. It stood at the side of the road and watched for traffic. It was going to cross a couple of times but held back. Finally it gave up it's attempt to cross the road.

    I like deer and never tire of seeing them. Since I spend a lot of time wandering through the bush I get to see quite a few deer.