I am continuing my exploration of the wild side of our property and the surrounding forest by looking at deer behavior today. While I am not sure that it is amusing to the deer, it is amusing to us, except of course, when it involves their eating Peggy’s carefully grown plants. We try to maintain a sense of humor about that. Watching the deer, and all of the wildlife around our property, is also an education. That’s half the fun.
A buck is up at the deer block having a discussion about his right to eat first. It isn’t so much about eating as it is about dominance. If everyone agrees, he will have a few bites and be on his way. And then someone else will have the discussion. It works it way downward. This time, a teenage buck was chased off— rather dramatically. But it doesn’t end there. Buck number one is sent packing by buck number three, who has bigger antlers. Size matters.
I’ve watched a scene unfold several times where the dominant deer chases away the next deer in line, who immediately goes over and kicks the next deer, who goes over and kicks the next one, etc. until there isn’t anybody left to kick. The confrontations are rarely violent. They often end with a gentle tap— as long as the other deer gets the idea. Sometimes there is no confrontation at all, especially among families. And everyone lets fawns eat their fill.
Peggy and I usually don’t put up a deer block. We prefer that the deer behave like deer and eat plants. (As long as they aren’t ours.) But I do put up one when the moms are in their last stages of pregnancy. My reason/excuse is that it helps supplement their diet. But I confess, I like the fact that it encourages the moms to bring their kids by, not to mention all the action we get to see.
While the deer block is only up for a few weeks, our bird bath is open for business 24/7 year round. I’ve never seen a bird bathe in it (maybe we have dirty birds), but just about everyone stops by for a drink.
NEXT POST: More wilderness encounters and lore. Peggy and I hike up the mountain looking for cougars and bears and snakes while a small bird feeder provides more entertainment than either the deer block or the bird bath spring. It’s the law of the jungle out there!
Wanderer, writer, photographer and activist. I've now settled in Southern Oregon. 1.8 million acres of national forest are out the backdoor and the beautiful Applegate River is out the front door. I like travel, reading, history and wild places. I am married to the lovely, funny, bright Peggy.
The Bush Devil Ate Sam is an important record and a serious story, yet told easily, and with delightful humor. This is one of the most satisfying books I have ever read, because it entertained me thoroughly AND made me feel better informed. —Hilary Custance Green: British Author... Click on the image to learn more about my book, the Bush Devil Ate Sam, and find out where it can be ordered.
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