Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our dearest deer

OK dog lovers, I hope you like deer too because that’s what today’s blog is about.
Growing up in northern Oakland County, deer weren’t an uncommon sight. I watched herds feed in my parent’s backyard and run down the paved roads of our subdivision.
For all the years I’ve watched deer, I’ve never seen anything like what I saw take place in my front yard at dusk last night.
When we moved in last fall, there was a momma doe and two fawns who crossed our yard each morning and evening. As the fall turned to winter, more and more deer joined them. My dad tells me that the deer travel in larger packs in the winter for both body heat and ease of traveling.
More hooves on a path means the path is more wore down, I suppose.
This large herd, about 12 deer, comes in from our backyard and walks to our front yard, usually crossing the road at the end of our driveway. Many of them are still on the small side; yearlings, perhaps.
In our front yard, there’s a row of 19 mailboxes along the private drive for our neighbors. A row of tall bushes was planted behind them for privacy.
As I was preparing dinner, I looked out my front window to see the entire herd — apparently in a frisky mood — hanging out in our front yard.
One deer was eating from a low-hanging tree branch, another was grazing on a bush that had been toppled to the ground by the snow. The rest were standing curiously by the mailbox bushes.
I watched them for a few minutes and was amazed to see one of the deer rear up on its hind legs to munch on the bushes by the mailboxes. Then another did it, and then another.
Meanwhile, one of the deer began heading toward the fallen bush. The little guy who was eating from it wanted it all to himself, apparently. He turned around and reared up on his hind legs, kicking at the newcomer, who then ran back to the mailbox bushes.
A large deer walked in, carrying his head low. I thought he looked rather menacing, and I was right.
He reared up and fought with two deer — one after the other — in our driveway.
Despite all the commotion, the mailbox-bush-eating deer continued feeding undisturbed. Apparently, they’re pretty comfortable on their hind legs.
I’ve never seen such behavior from a herd. I’ll watch for them again tonight, and if they’re as entertaining as they were last night, I’ll take some photos and video to post on here.

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