Morning Deer

NOT a lawn ornament

We have a lot of deer in our neighborhood. There are those that love ’em, those that loathe ’em, and those of us who are conflicted. The truth is that I DO feel pleasure as I walk about town and see the deer. I feel the same way about all the “wild” animals I might see: opossum, raccoon, hawks, the very occasional fox. There is something very joyful about nature despite “civilization”.

On the other hand, as a gardener, I would really prefer NOT to have to deal with the deer. There has been so much edifice development in this area that the pockets of greenery are becoming more and more scarce. The deerhave become incredibly bold, strolling down the streets even in the middle of the day. Several times we’ve pulled up to our house in our cars, whether daytime or night, and there are deer on the lawn, and the deer don’t move. They have become totally blase about cars and people. They look at us as if to say “Hey there, how are YOU today?”

Hmmm. Let’s see what’s on the menu today

I don’t know any good solutions. Hunting? Poison? Co-existence? Barbed wire enclosures? What I DO know is that I want to have a garden and I want my plants to have flowers. I do NOT enjoy plants that consist of bitten stems and branches. There’s not much color in a bitten stem, nor does it attract pollinators, butterflies, or hummingbirds.

Yesterday’s breakfast

This morning when I walked out after waking, I was looking at my rudbeckia in the front garden. I heard my neighbor calling to me from across the street. “There’s a deer in your garden!” she called. “It’s been there for hours!” I edged cautiously down the sidewalk and indeed – there was deer sitting in a nice shady spot in the lawn. Of course I took pictures. 🙂 You can see it was unconcerned with me playing paparazzi.

How’s the Starwort this morning?

I went inside to take care of the cats. I could see the deer from the dining room window. It didn’t flinch as I opened the window to let in air. As I moved about inside I noticed that the deer had gotten up and was moving around the house. I grabbed my camera and went out to observe.

Oh garcon!!! A little fresh water please!

The good news is that it seemed to ignore most of my plants. It did take a bite of the False Starwort, but only one bite. The evergreen hedge got a few nibbles, but everything else was ignored. Thank goodness, since it (or a friend) had already done a number on the hibiscus plants in the pots. The deer meandered across my lawn, across my neighbor’s lawn, and then headed back behind that house.

Loving me some evergreens

It was a lovely interlude in my morning but it was a reminder as well. I got the “repel all” spray from the porch and doused the False Starwort and the hibiscus. 🙂 Co-existence but do NOT eat my flowers!!!!

The mandevilla does NOT look fresh today

I wish I could blame the deer for the dying mandevilla – all I can think is too much water, even though that pot is open on the bottom. 😦

Breakfast buffet

Life in the Country

Except I live in the suburbs, as I have mentioned in the past. Last weekend it was the falcon/hawk/big bird of prey. This weekend – I had to wait for the deer to cross. I put on my turn indicator and pulled a bit to the side to wait and watch – you never know exactly where those deer will head. The car behind me had no such qualms – just pulled out around me and barreled on through. As pesky as the deer might be with the havoc they wreak on my garden, somehow I still get great pleasure in seeing them wandering about town.
deer crossing

An Unexpected Visitor

We had a guest at lunchtime yesterday. We’re not really sure who she (he?) is, nor from whence she came, but we were delighted to see her and have her share (so to speak) her meal with us.

We live in the suburbs. Houses all around us, sidewalks, paved roads, house lots averaging 50’x100′. IMG_9809Yet living here we are surrounded by wildlife. We have opossums, raccoons, groundhogs and of course roving gangs of deer. (I fully expect one day to see a gang scene straight from ‘West Side Story’ between the herds.) In the last few years we’ve seen more and more crows. I’ve been told that the mountains to our north and west were the original rookery, but there has been so much development up there that they, like the deer, have been pushed out to us. I’m very familiar with turkey buzzards. I used to watch them from my office window. But I’ve never seen a falcon in the neighborhood before.

IMG_9815I was getting ready to heat up some soup when my husband began calling me urgently to come to him. I met him at the deck door and there she was – up on the privacy screen. She was gorgeous. I don’t know why I decided she was female – it might have been a male. Or maybe even transgender, I wouldn’t want to presume. But since I don’t know I’m going with female. I went to grab my phone to take pictures. We didn’t dare open the door so I had to aim around the grids in the door. I was sure she’d fly away any moment.

IMG_9800She continued dining, tearing at whatever tasty morsel she had up there. My husband is fairly certain it was a squirrel – he said he could see the fur. We went up to the 2nd floor and peered out from above. I stood on a chair so I could shoot over the screens. Drat my phone – I couldn’t not zoom in as much as I wanted. I kept clicking and clicking and clicking. She kept eating. I took a video. 🙂 She wasn’t going anywhere.

IMG_9778I went downstairs and to the dining room window. Again I stood on a chair to get above the screen. I think that at times she may have heard me, or saw some movement through the window, but other than staring at the window, she didn’t seem bothered. I clicked and clicked and clicked.

IMG_9820Finally I realized my pictures weren’t getting any better or any different than the 264 pictures I already had and I stopped. I watched her out the deck door for a bit and then I went back to getting tasks done. At one point I glimpsed a huge wing span and looked. She was gone.

IMG_9833We have been trying to identify her. My husband says she was larger than a red tail hawk. She’s smaller than a turkey buzzard. She’s bigger than a falcon we saw in Orlando. (That’s a great story – the falcon looked a trifle injured. It was hiding UNDER a parked car, because there were 3 crows surrounding the car. I’m fairly certain that somewhere in my phone I have those pictures too.)

IMG_9834I thought, from the various pictures online, that she could have been a peregrine falcon. My husband thinks she’s a gyrfalcon.

IMG_9855After reading about their respective sizes I think he may be correct. If a peregrine is near to crow size, this bird was definitely bigger than a crow. We are both fairly certain that this bird could have taken our cats, it was that impressive.

Whatever she is, she was gorgeous, and we are so glad that we had the chance to meet her.