I went out this morning to let the chickens out into their run and feed the deer, as I do every morning.
It was 7:30 and the sun was well up. It was daylight.
The deer often come in waves from their various sleeping locations, so it's not unusual to see a latecomer.
As I stood filling the watering tubs, something in my pasture caught my eye.
Another deer, I presumed.
Boy was I ever wrong.
It was coyote!
Something had obviously spooked him, because he was at a full gallop and didn't even cast us a sideways glance.
|photo credit: http://natureofframingham.blogspot.com/|
What happened next was the astonishing thing.
Instead of being afraid of a predator in their space, three deer headed in the direction of the coyote.
They ran several hundred yards toward where he'd gone, stopped for a few minutes and then returned to the herd.
There are no fawns to protect. Their behavior didn't make any sense.
I couldn't really comprehend what I'd seen.
Even more strange, when I was looking for a photo of a coyote to put in this post (I didn't have my camera), I came across the picture you see above.
The woman who caught this, in a series of photos, had the exact thing happen!
Her deer are mule deer and much larger than my whitetails, but still.
What causes the predator/prey model to be turned on its head?
I'll be spending more time visiting with Google about it.
It fascinates me.