Deer are the other critters that I love to see in the yard, but which may become problematic when the yard has people-food growing in it.
Late this summer, I was visited daily by 3 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). I know there were three of them, but I could never get them to clump together for a group shot. That may be because they were wandering around outside, while I was inside the house taking pictures through the windows. Even so, I think I can prove that there were really three of them. In the following, they are named 1, 2 and 3 by age, where I think Deer #1 is the eldest.
First, a couple of morning shots. I am definitely not a morning person. I hate mornings. Anything I can think of to do in the morning would be more comfortably done later in the day, and certainly more productively (for me, at least). Oh, what am I saying? I can’t think of anything to do in the morning. Anyway, just look at these awful morning pictures:
Notice the cold, gray morning light, Ugh! Fortunately, the deer came around in the afternoons too when the light was warm and golden, and it was a lot easier to tell who was who.
First we have Deer #1, “Torn Ear”.
First, this one had the biggest set of antlers. And notice the tall, straight bits of antler in the center of his head, one on each side. The next picture shows his torn left ear.
This, together with the larger antlers makes me think he’s the oldest of the group. The damage goes almost to the base of his ear. It isn’t recent, and is well healed-over.
Next, Deer #2:
This guy has 3 short straight horns in the center, and the branches of his antlers seem small and nubby (see in the next picture). Note that his left ear has a notch in it too, but is not torn down to the base like the other guy.
This shows Deers #3 & #1, #1 on the right. They’re all quite small: the bird-of-paradise bush near #3 is only 3′ tall.
Deer #3 seems the youngest. He doesn’t have short straight horns in the middle of his head, and his ears are notch-less. He’s also quite the poser. He seems to know I’m taking his picture, even as I stand behind reflector-filmed windows. See also his posing for the picture at the top (second picture). And then this one:
Zoom in to see the twinkle in his eye. (Or was that from my taking his picture through a screen?)
A week later, I saw him with his antlers twisted into the branches of a small mesquite tree. He fought and fought to get them free (I thought). I considered helping him get free, but didn’t because he was thrashing about so roughly and I thought I might get injured. Then, I saw him get free of the branches, so that was good. But then, I saw him deliberately tangle up in the branches again, and I realized that the velvet was probably itchy, and he was getting ready to lose it. So he was tangling his antlers in the tree to try to scratch at the velvet (and eventually get it scraped off completely).
All of this is obvious when you’ve lived it all your life, I guess. But for me, a city girl, it’s an endless wonder.