Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Deer Developments

I thought I'd posted enough deer images and told all I wanted about the deer family that inhabits my woods.  I was ready to move on to a new subject, when yesterday morning I had a new visitor, this large doe.  She showed a dominant stance right from the beginning, and chased off my regular doe when she arrived to feed.  The pecking order between them was obvious.

Shortly after my doe fled, this buck sporting new velvet antlers arrived.  They shared the deer block, but were wary the whole time.  They watched me vigilantly as I photographed them through the window, their postures alert and ears cocked forward.  Several times the doe deserted the block for the safety of the woods, but she always returned to join the buck.  I had mixed feelings about them sharing the feed block with my regulars so I let my presence be more overtly known and they left after a while.

Shortly after these new deer left the feed block, the fawns arrived with the mother doe.  You can see how much the larger fawn has grown.

The smaller fawn shows growth too.  Both eat the greenery as much as they eat from the deer block.  After the visit from the buck, I wondered about the gender of my fawns.  I noticed they both have brown spots on the tops of their heads that might be antler pedicles, which are the small growth areas from which antlers eventually grow.  Perhaps these fawns are young bucks.

But both fawns still prefer the nourishment they get from their mother.  With their larger sizes, they lift her off her feet as they try to simultaneously nurse.  Is the doe sticking out her tongue to register dislike or to reflect the precarious balance she's experiencing?

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