Monday, January 31, 2011

Deer Country Extra: Maple Loss, Deer Gain

Browsing on maple buds

The news about our Ancient Maple, already in natural decline, is not good. Last week’s nine-inch, heavy snow broke several of the tree’s significant, younger limbs.

Bad news about Ancient Maple, however, means good news for deer confronted by a largely snow-covered food supply. Groups of two to six come regularly to browse on the buds of the fallen limbs.

Stream bed: Snow-free walkway
For deer to find food in a snow-covered landscape must be challenging. On Friday I watched two does in our woods using their front hooves to try to find dried leaves through the snow.

Travel in the deep snow is less challenging. I watched six deer repeat what I had noticed deer doing during last year’s Snowmageddon—using the bed of our spring-fed stream as a snow-free walkway.

Tough life.

Smart deer.

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