Our Winter Bird Highlights, summarizing the results from the 2018-19 season, is now online.×
Arcade, NY, United States
As we all know, by feeding the birds, we end up feeding or attracting other wildlife. Birders go to great lengths to keep this from happening, but sometimes (often) this fails.
Last winter’s weather in the North East was long and brutally cold. Many animals suffered. We found a starving blue jay and gave it to a re-habber, but the bird died after a couple of days.
Then the starving deer came! Deer never come near our house in the daytime. But last year, a herd of 12 white tail deer camped out in our woods – day and night. Like clock-work they would single-file march to our feeding stations at certain hours, the ones for the birds and the ones for the squirrels. (Yes – we feed the squirrels too.) We could clearly see the ribs on several of the younger deer. We did not have the heart to scare them away. I even clipped off the ends of hemlock branches and “planted” them in the snow for them to munch on as they walked by.
We watched them daily for most of the month of March! And, of course, I had my camera at the ready. I took this photo of a deer checking out the squirrel/bird bowl attached to a tree. When I looked at the photo, I saw the UNEXPECTED – the deer’s ears turned backward! I had luckily just caught this deer in the act of listening to me in the house!
Now, I knew at the time that deer have maneuverable ears. But a photo is worth hundreds of words, as they say. And my husband and I were very amazed to actually see this ability in action first hand. I did some research and found out that deer have 2 square feet of surface area in those soft sensitive ears and intricate muscles that allow them to move them without turning their heads. These radar-dish ears – enable them to be spot on in locating sounds.