Friday, November 25, 2011

Deer Country: Counting Our Bambit Blessings

Three deer...
As Ellen and I put the finishing touches on the post-Thanksgiving cleanup on Friday, I glanced out the sunroom windows and noticed several groups of deer.  To get an accurate count, I went outside and walked around the house.  A herd of 19 grazed in the field to our south.  Smaller groups grazed to the west and north—a total of 26.  All were does and young.

But White Flag—the doe with the damaged tail that always stands straight up—and her two fawns weren’t there.  Neither were the bucks—Big Buck 2011, the medium twin bucks, the small twin bucks, or the disabled young buck with the shattered front-right knee.    Alas, if all the bambits were in sight I would have counted at least 35—a record number here at Meadow Glenn.

Six deer...
As I walked about slowly and took photographs, many of the deer just stood and watched and perked-up their ears, especially when I made a “kissing” noise with my lips.  Their perky ears are the equivalent, perhaps, to the smiles we humans make when a photographer instructs, “Say cheese.”

With so many deer browsing 24/7 in our neighborhood, when snow and ice cover much of their wintertime food supply this winter, will hunger urge them to break through the cages of iron stakes and welded wire I’ve installed and to browse the buds that would be next spring’s leaves and flowers?

Nineteen deer
Some long-range forecasts say winter will be “about average.”  Perhaps our deer will have sufficient food without our azaleas and viburnums.  But perhaps we’ll have a hard winter and lots of deer-damaged shrubs and trees.

I'm hoping for a “good” winter during which our beautiful bambits will find enough food outside our landscape to satisfy their hunger.  When I walk about and take their pictures, I consider them a blessing.  But when I see browsed shrubs and trees in the spring, I have other thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly do not envy such a rich presence of wildlife in your backyard. It has been reported that some of the "wildlife" areas in Howard county have as much as 10 times more deer that a given area can naturally support. Due to the lack of natural enemy, this leaves man to thin deer via shooting and an accidental roadkill. Interestingly enough, "my deer" herd is down from 2 dozens to less than one dozen. Perhaps this is due to a new development close by, that took away some of the wooded area.