Monday, December 21, 2009

Deer Visit

My world for the last couple of days has been confined to my yard because I am still snowed in and loving every minute of it.

During our snow storm on Saturday the White Tailed Deer behind my house came calling. I counted 6 total but I usually only see them in groups of 3 or 4.  Below you can see them in the back of the house at the bottom of the hill. They are walking along the creek bed and stop every minute to listen. They are very cautious.

Their tracks are a common site around here and for the most part I avoid following their trails. I think of deer paths as tick trails and try not to go where they go.

Eventually they made their way up to the fence I have put up to keep my dog in and most of the time they respect the boundary. But today they were looking for something to eat. You can see one in the middle nibbling on a branch.

The next thing I knew they were in the yard pawing at the ground to get down to the grass. This was still early in the day and they didn't have to dig down the full 2 feet. I wonder if they had a forecast and knew that if they didn't get something to eat now it would be nearly impossible later.

This next little deer walked over to the evergreen and had a short nibble but I don't think it liked it so much and moved on.

This guy was nibbling on my honey suckle. Yeah for him. I don't much care for it because it becomes like a weed in the summer. This one is covered with snow and every once in a while one of them would shake like a dog to knock the snow off. You can see how deep he already is in the snow. Do you see the sections in the fence? By the end of the day and now today you can only see the top 3-1/2 rows so you can imagine how they must be struggling just to move around.

Soon they left the yard and went on their way.

I have been reading "Life in the Cold" by Peter J. Marchand and he mentioned that White Tail Deer have a much harder time coping with deep snow than say a Caribou or Reindeer because the deer have such small feet and they use a lot of energy dragging them along in the snow.  Caribou have big feet and sort of float over the snow as though they are wearing snow shoes. And Moose are very tall and can lift it's feet almost shoulder high.  The White Tail Deer show foot drag in as little as 15 cm of snow.  To help them adapt they have developed a strategy called yarding. They congregate in an area and stomp the ground down and feed  and sleep there for as long as they can. I suspect that the deer that visited on Saturday are yarding somewhere now.

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Johnny Nutcase said...

awesome photos...i can't believe how much snow you have, wow! those deer look like they are struggling a little bit in that deep stuff. nice post..winter wonderland indeed!

Sylvia K said...

Amazing to see so much snow -- we had a lot here last year but not this much! And it's when you see the deer standing in snow up to and over it's stomach that you realize just how deep it really is!! Marvelous captures! Great post!

Stay warm and have a great week!


Riet said...

Imagine that, deer in your back garden. How beautiful. Great pictures. Merry Christmas

J Bar said...

Cool capture.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Wanda said...

I enjoyed the photos and facts about deer and their habit of yarding.

Dorothy said...

I just love the pictures of the deer in the snow!! Wonderful shots! Very nice blog you have, too!

MyMaracas said...

Great photos! Especially the one jumping the fence. It's amazing what they can get over. I have never heard of yarding, but I'll watch for that when the snow gets deep here. (We have lots of deer too.)

Anonymous said...

Nice shots. Same view from my windows. Looks like "yarding" is the proper term for what I think of as bedding down. They look particularly beautiful laying on the snow in the moonlight.

moe lauher said...

This is a wonderful posting - thanks for sharing your winter wonderland.