Monday, June 9, 2008

Beautiful Pests

I know they are just giant rats.  I know they cost thousands of dollars in damage to landscaping every year.  I know they cost even more to the unfortunate person who encounters one with their car.  I prepare my children every year in November, during the rut, that if a deer jumps out in front of me while I'm driving 65 mph that I will hit it.  My other option is to slam on the brakes, swerve and potentially end up in oncoming traffic or off the edge of some very steep dropoffs.  I will not risk my own life, or that of others to save a deer.
I would also sob uncontrollably if I killed one.  My biggest fear concerning the deer, is hitting one and not killing it. I don't own a gun, but that possibility makes me wish I did.  I'd put any animal out of its misery if I needed to. 

We have had a resurgence of coyote activity in our immediate area, thanks in great part to lots and lots of undeveloped land.  The coyotes are keeping the deer population down just a bit.  In the area where my mom lived, they are as populous as squirrels.  She lived in a little golf course neighborhood.  Green grass, water and no predators makes for too many deer.  

All that negativity aside, I love the beautiful pests.  I watch the does every year get all round with impending birth.  One day they appear and look quite a bit less round, and I know there is a tiny bundle of spotted cuteness somewhere.  For nearly a month, fawns lie like statues in hiding places picked by the does.  She goes back to feed them only two or three times a day. This is how thousands of fawns get "rescued" every year by well-meaning folks.  They think they've found an abandoned baby, when really its just doing what it was told--"Stay put, I'll be back in few hours to feed you."  I wait in anticipation for the appearance of the fawns.  Yesterday I got a call from my neighbor, "One of the does has brought her fawn up to your water!" (Yes, I provide water---I know, I know, but we haven't had rain for weeks. I'm a sucker for thirsty animals.) 
I raced outside with my husband's telephoto lens and took way too many pictures.  This particular doe I believe, is a first time mom.  She's very skittish and lost complete track of where her fawn had wandered off to after our photography session.  When I realized her fawn was now acres away, I stopped and went indoors.  She came up this morning for water and didn't look completely engorged, so I'm assuming she found her fawn.  

The doe I'm waiting for is my favorite.  She's been around for 3 years and brought babies up every year.  She lets them hang around with her for a full year.  Last years fawn was a little buck and he's bigger than her already.  I'm feeling quite sure that she has twins hidden somewhere.  She got huge and then one day came up for water with her girlish figure back.  I often see her in the evening with a very large udder.  She drinks a bit of water and then resolutely wanders off to the neighboring acreage where I'm sure the baby(ies) are.

The deer are just a bit of the wonder and joy of living on acreage.  I  l.o.v.e. living where I can see all manner of wildlife every day.  I'm shameless when it comes to my attempts at luring them closer so I can photograph them.  Birdfeeders, flowers and water are my main lures. Birds, insects, deer and tree rats (aka: squirrels) are the main things I see.  Even the sight of predators thrills me.  I'm pretty easy to entertain.  

1 comment:

  1. That is one beautiful photo. We had a deer wander through yesterday, it didn't see us, me hubbie and pup, because we were in the pond in our boat. I guess if we aren't standing and looking human, we aren't something to worry about.