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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Species Spotlight #9: White-tailed Deer

I don’t remember every experience I’ve ever had with a White-tailed Deer, but I do remember a few good ones. There’s the time I was looking for American Woodcock at Mason Farm in the early twilight when I spooked one, and it ran across the field with its tail up in the air, screaming bloody murder the whole way. Fine way to start an evening of solo nightbirding. Then there’s the time near my apartment when, around midnight, I saw a deer feeding on the lawn, and I decided to inch as close as I could – she didn’t bolt until I was within ten feet of her! There’s that time when James and I visited Yates Mill and we flushed a fawn from right next to us, who ran less than fifty feet before turning and staring at us from the path. And then there’s this time.

James and I were visiting Lake Crabtree to find things like Bank Swallows and Bald Eagles, and ducks (0 for 3, though we did find a nice Caspian Tern), and while walking back from the causeway we saw movement off to our right – the deer you see below, frozen in her steps, watching us warily. Sure, most deers do that, but she seemed a little more cautious, and for good reason. That’s what makes this story so special – she’s got a large distended belly, and her teats are just starting to become enlarged. This isn’t just any deer. She’s pregnant.

She was standing absolutely motionless here - not even a flip of her ear.

It’s the first and only time I’ve been able to view a wild animal and identify its pregnancy, which is odd when you think about it, because White-tailed Deer are pretty common around here. Still, I enjoy them every time I get to see them. It’s good to know that no matter how urban an environment you may live in, there’s still nature a lot all around you, just you may not be able to see it.


  1. I love White-tailed Deer! We've got a whole lot of em up here on the bald. We've watched young deer get older over the 2 months we've been here.

    Anyway, the season's about over, but we finally got our blog going. Give it a looksy!

  2. Great blog so far guys - can't wait to see some more awesome bird banding shots!

  3. My White-tail tale.... I was learning to fly at a tiny rural airport in upstate New York and had just started my full power take-off roll when a couple deer bolted across the runway right in front of me. Well, they didn't get sliced into steaks and I got airborne, but what a shock!

  4. Jeez, talk about a close call! Hope they had a good reason for crossing the runway, lol