Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Deerly Beloved

I take the birdseed feeders in every night so the bears can't get them. I go out early every morning to rehang them and scatter seed on the ground for the doves (and the opportunistic squirrels and band-tailed pigeons). I go shortly after sunrise, so there's enough light for me to see if there are bears, mountain lions, or a pack of coyotes out there. I always open the blinds first and look around before I open the front door. It's not fear, but thoughtful self-preservation.
Monday morning when I pulled that blind up this beautiful buck was not more than ten feet from the window. Yes, I startled him, but he didn't go very far at all. Mmmm... I wondered why he stayed around close enough for me to see him. I didn't want to go out and scare him any more than I already had, so I put off hanging the feeders for a little while. When I checked again, he was still out there, and so was his little sweetheart doe, resting in one of the flower beds as calm as could be.

Ah yes, it is rutting season for black-tailed deer, and these two were as cute as lovebirds on a date. I think this female is one we've known over the years. She likes to come by and eat the bird seed too. I opened the door. She didn't move. She just watched me scatter the seed. I always talk to her. I know I'm not supposed to, and I know it's wrong to feed the deer, but I am feeding birds. She just likes to get in on the action. I told my neighbors once, after they complained that the deer were eating all their flowers and plants out in front of their house, that the deer must think they had planted it all for them. Why else would those scrumptious morsels be so attractive and delicious and easy to get to?

The buck hung around and watched the doe eat. It surprised me that he let her eat as much as she wanted before he came by for a nibble. (It reminded Roger of the male mallard's behavior in their season.) Then, she went back to lying down and waiting, and he went to eat something green.

Yes, I went out and scattered more seed.

19 comments:

  1. You are a very good person. I love how calm she looks, lying there, and I love that he was standing guard, so to speak. I do miss seeing my deer.

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  2. such a sweet story! wildlife is just the most amazing movie to watch! :)

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  3. Wonderful photos and terrific story. I love animals-- wild and otherwise.

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  4. Thanks so much for the comment on my blog.. this is a lovely story. I also talk to my animals and my birds and we have the black tailed deer. It is so wonderful to enter their world and to see it.

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  5. Paradise is what you make of it; and you've made it magnificent! I suspect the creatures know you're their friend, even though you look like others who aren't.

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  6. I want to see the video wherein they create the next generation of baby deer.....be on the lookout, okay?

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  7. What a shame that everything from slugs to deer prefer flowers to weeds on their menu. Lovely photos that prove once again that getting up early has its rewards.

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  8. Wow you must live out in the sticks to have bear ,lions & coyotes. I love the idea of deer coming in the garden but the nearest we get them is in the farmland round the village. I could cope with liveing where you do.

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  9. We have lots of deer in our area. They get hit regularly on some of the roads. In fact, I hit one once. It got up and ran away, so maybe it was OK. But right now the biggest deer sign is our eaten shrubbery. The last time it was this bad was our drought of a few years ago.

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  10. Gorgeous couple! The local deer don't come in our yard any more because of the dog[s], but we see them often since there is open space behind us. For quite a while, a doe and her teenager [yearling? not a baby; not fully grown] hung out in a nearby patch of trees and shrubs; sometimes we saw Mr. Buck scouting around, too, wearing his big fancy antlers.

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  11. kenju-- Thank you. I feel sorry for the wildlife because we have taken over so much of their natural habitat.

    sky-- I feel lucky to have had a chance to see them be so calm. They were quite beautiful.

    Rain-- So glad you liked the photos and story. I love sharing the planet with all the other creatures.

    Nora-- It's one of those moments that made me glad I opened the blinds when I did. These two actually stayed out front for almost two hours. I was surprised by their level of comfort.

    John-- I sometimes wonder who else talks to these deer. I know I'm not the first. I hope they can distinguish friend from foe, although I suspect that's a lot to ask.

    Tara-- I can guarantee you that I would NOT video that. Sorry.

    John-- True. The wildlife always know which are our most prized plantings. Yum yum yum! Yes, I've seen bobcats, coyotes, fox in the early morning. They do like the crepuscular time of day. Me too!

    Isabelita-- So romantic!

    Bill-- We have seen packs of coyotes, bobcats, and fox from our front window. We have not seen the mountain lion, but our neighbors have. Our bird feeders have been smashed to the ground by bear (who also leave tracks and lots of scat). One of our neighbors had their dog killed by a coyote in 2012.

    Mark-- We see so many road kill deer here, it is really heartbreaking. There's been a decline in deer population here (50% by some estimates). Some of that is loss of habitat and some from hunting. I guess that's why I don't feel bad seeing them eat the shrubbery out front. We have deer-proof fencing in that yard that protects our garden.

    kathy a-- We saw a couple of does and their yearlings when we first moved here. We've noticed that for the past year they haven't been around. Then, our neighbor told us about the mountain lion sighting, and we understood their scarcity. It's such a pleasure to have them come by.

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  12. Good for you. What a wonderful sight you get to enjoy just for a little bird seed.

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  13. Patti- It is a wonderful sight. I was surprised to see the deer eat bird seed, but they do seem to enjoy it.

    Dave-- Thank you!

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  14. I don't know where you live but it sure looks like beautiful country. I'd love to watch dear in my yard eating seed.

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  15. Larry-- We live in Grass Valley, CA, the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Elevation here is 2600 ft. We have apple trees out in the front, and the deer get most of those, and we don't mind at all. We're glad there's food for them. Thank you so much for stopping by.

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  16. This is a very sweet story. And you know, birds are wildlife and no one says, "Don't feed birds!" So don't feel guilty about the deer feeding on the seed you put down. We humans are insane how we categorize species as "good" or "bad." Life isn't a bunch of rectangles on a bar chart! It's a continuum, each being interconnected with every other being. Indra's Web, etc. You know that, and that's why your heart lightens when you see the deer and why you put out extra seed. Bless you.

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  17. CCorax-- You see the interconnectedness of life the way I do. If I see a hungry critter, I tend to want to feed it. If we humans hadn't destroyed so much habitat, I might feel differently. But we ask so many animals to live on the margins of what was once their range and territory. It's the very least we could do to make their lives a little easier.

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