Friday, November 03, 2006

Please Don’t Let Me Interrupt Your Dinner

The deer family – mom and her two young ones – are daily visitors to the Colvin Run Habitat. The trio comes at almost anytime of day. Two days ago, I found them on the front lawn (about 10 feet from the front door) eating leaves off the burning bush at 4:30 AM.
These photos were taken earlier this week, in a part of the Habitat that Dot and I call the Salad Bar (the deer’s salad bar, not ours). We gave up well over a decade ago any hope of sustaining our once beautiful and considerable flower garden. As various deer long ago ensured that no perennial flowers could return, the current deer have taken to eating the shrubs.
They are currently fond of the Helera holly, which normally they do not start on until very late winter and then for a limited and short time until new spring growth appears on the trees. If the deer choose to strip down these holly shrubs, the smaller mammals and many of the birds will need to find new winter perches and homes. These shrubs are small-leafed, dense, and provide great protection from the winter cold, dampness, snow, and wind.
I have to get within 20 feet of the deer before they run off – opening the doors or windows, or clapping – tricks that used to make them run away quickly – no longer work. The first photo is enlarged to show one of the youngsters with leaves in mouth, just watching as I continue to approach and take photos. Notice that in each of the photos, none of the three raise their tail in alarm. The doe keeps a steady eye as I approach, but the youngsters look away or continue to eat. When the three did bolt, they only ran for 25 feet, and then just walked into the nearby brush and woods.
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