Friday, January 10, 2014

All God's Creatures


When I was taking down my Christmas decorations last week, I happened to look out my front window to see one of Santa's reindeer waiting for him outside! (All photos will enlarge fro easier viewing if clicked on)


Needing a little break, I went outside to investigate.  There were actually three mule deer bucks outside, happily munching on a juniper bush in front of my house. Since we live in close proximity to protected open space near the foothills of the Front Range of Colorado, they are a common sight in our neighborhood. They are also very used to humans, but don't worry --I made sure to keep a safe distance from them, non-the-less.


 Most of the time they will look up at me for a second, and then just go right on eating.


But this day, this particular buck pulled on my heartstrings.  He had obviously been previously attacked by another wild animal in the vicinity--perhaps a mountain lion or coyotes--and had escaped, but not without injury.


His front right leg was injured and he was limping on it.  He had marks on his flanks and back that looked like healing bite and scratch marks.  Although he was limping badly, he still was able to walk, and did not appear to be in too much pain.  He certainly enjoyed eating my shrubs and dried tree leaves!  If you notice, one of his antlers was also broken, so I guess he fought a brave battle, and fortunately for him, he won this time!



The next morning I looked out my bedroom window and there he was, resting in my backyard.


Since I do not have a dog, I often see deer in my yard, as there is nothing to discourage them from entering. As you can see, he has his injured right leg extended in front of him.


When I went outside later that morning I saw he was still sitting and leisurely chewing his cud, and did not look in distress, which made me feel a little better.  I looked into the protocol for injured animals on our community Rangers web site, and their literature states that as long as the animal can walk, they do not intervene. If the deer was unable to walk, then they would come over and euthanize him.  I know that would be the kind thing to do if he could not feed himself, and had no chances for survival.


Since moving here, exactly one year ago today, I've found watching these animals fascinating! I know many people dislike that deer eat their landscaping and flowers, but one Ranger article I read addressed this issue by telling us that since we chose to live close to open spaces, we should treat our property as wildlife habitats. All wildlife seeks out food, water and shelter, and our properties will be included in their search. It is best then, for us not to plant anything that attracts wildlife, and to realize that they will seek out food in our yards, regardless. It is best to plant deer resistant plants and flowers, and to use deer repellents and barriers to protect our landscaping. There are also Colorado state wildlife statutes that prohibit feeding wildlife, including giving them salt licks, with fines and summonses if we are caught doing so. It might seem kind to leave food out for the deer in harsh weather, but they explain it often leads to a spread of a condition called chronic wasting disease. Deer complex digestive systems can not digest large amounts of grain, bread, bird seed or hay, and feeding them such foods weaken their condition.

A deer's life is really a matter of survival of the fittest.  They face quite a bit of hazards living int the wild and among humans.  Since this injured deer seems to be a frequent visitor to my yard, I can't help but root for him to heal and survive the winter.  I'll keep you posted!


Thank you all for your kind words of sympathy on my last post--they were very much appreciated. It is hard to begin the new year with such sadness, but my daughter and son-in-law have been fortunate to have their baby girl to give them daily joy, and  now my son-in-law is going for tests to make sure he does not suffer from heart disease, as his older brothers did. Please continue to keep them in your prayers!  Thank you!


I'm linking this post to the following blog events:


Thank you to the blog hosts!

PS: There is a very interesting article you might want to read on BlogHer, entitled "Blogger Beware: You Can Get Sued For Using Photos You Don't Own On Your Blog"  It definitely is a good warning, and food for thought.


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35 comments:

Pondside said...

Your Colorado deer seem much bigger than our Island deer - but they are all voracious eaters! We have fenced nearly 2 acres and now we can grow what we want. The deer here are overrunning the island as there are few predators. They are lovely to look at though!
I am so sorry for your son-in-law's and daughter's loss. Such a hard thing at any time, but especially amidst the joy of the Christmas season.

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I agree with Pondside. Your deer are so much bigger than ours are in the Carolinas. The deer have fascinated me for a long time, but they can drive me crazy too by eating our shrubs. I hope the one you've featured gets better soon. You are right - it's survival of the fittest in their world.

I send my sympathies to your family at this time and all of you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Sam

La Petite Gallery said...

They are so beautiful, I love
to see them. In Maine they come in the yard, but not that close.
My heart goes out to them, life is hard enough without being hunted.
Great shots, hope you have a fantastic 2014. yvonne

eileeninmd said...

Pat, what wonderful critters to have come so close. The buck is awesome looking. This would be a great post to add to my Saturday's Critter party. I loved the photos. Have a happy weekend!

Pamela Gordon said...

Wow, you sure get some great photos of these beautiful deer. Amazing. I have shared in my posts of all the deer in 'our backyard' as well and we have the same rules here regarding feeding them but people still do. We hope to put a veggie garden in this spring but I have the feeling we'll need a 8 foot wall around it in order to get anything to eat from it!! I hope that buck survives the winter. I don't like to see injured animals but he appears to be healthy although your shrubs are taking a beating. Enjoy the weekend. Pam

Snap said...

You have very handsome visitors/neighbors. Gorgeous. I hope he heals well over the winter. Wishing your daughter and son-in-law well ... so difficult for this to happen during the holidays ... anyday.

Nellie said...

Your deer appear as though they could actually be leading Santa's sleigh!:-) I hope the injured one will be able to heal and survive.

Vee said...

I thought they were the most realistic lawn deer I had ever seen for a second! Awww your poor hurt deer. Hope that he makes it and that he doesn't kill your juniper. (I used to have a row of juniper behind the garage. Long gone now and I'm wondering if this might have happened to them.)

Glad that your son-in-law is being proactive. It'll give your daughter and him peace of mind.

ellen b. said...

It is good to be educated about your area and the wildlife there. Such beautiful creatures. I have thought to pray for you son in laws family during this grieving time...

steviewren said...

How interesting to be able to look out your windows and see such beautiful animals. I hope your deer gets better, but leaves some shrubs for your yard at the same time

Hope the testing goes well for your son-in-law. It is good to know if he needs to take steps to ensure his future health.

The Gathering Place said...

I just left a comment, but I think the computer glitched and didn't record it. I'll repeat, just in case. How fun to see the deer out the window with Santa gazing at him. Even better to know that the deer was alive! Good luck to your son-in-law with his health checking. Knowledge is a good prevention,

Barb said...

Hi Pat, I'm rooting for "your" deer, too. Maybe he feels good vibes so close to you, knowing you won't hurt him. Some of my neighbors feed the foxes, making them way too habituated to humans. We clap to encourage them to move away if they try to come too close when we're sitting on the deck in the summer. I don't want them approaching a grandchild expecting a handout!

Betsy Adams said...

Sad about the deer. Hope he will be okay… I'm sure that it's hard for them (all creatures) living out there in the wilds.

I worry so about my little birds and I feed them like crazy during the horribly cold and frigid weather. That's about all I can do for them.

Hope your son-in-law finds out what the problem is in his family ---and makes sure he's not one of the statistics also… God Bless him and that family.

Hugs,
Betsy

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Beautiful animals! I hope the injured deer will make it.

Jo said...

oh geez, your post just really pulled at my heart strings ... i just love deer ... we see plenty in the summer at my brothers cabin ... and I just ache to see one so injured ... I hope he heals well ...

Jo said...

and thanks for the link to the article on photo usage ... i am a pinterest user and i am going to delete my boards ... amazing article.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - It would be hard to tear myself away from the window with all that deer activity you've got going on. We used to have deer come to our backyard too, but once the neighbors erected a fence, no more deer in the yard. I have to say my shrubs are happier.

Carol L McKenna said...

Still sending prayers and healing energy for all ~ Beautiful deer photos ~ wow! ~ carol, xxx

www.acreativeharbor.com

diane b said...

Love the shot of the deer waiting for Santa, We have the same rules about feeding our wildlife including the birds. I'm not sure that there is a fine but we are often reminded not to do it.I hope hoppalong will fully recover. I bet he can sense that you care for him.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Sop beautiful...God's creatures that came to pay you a visit over there. Continuing to pray for your family as you deal with another sadness!

Mrs.D. from Italy said...

wonderful post and overall wonderful pics
what do y think to be the first in signing your blog link in my 1st blog party?
I m waiting for you
greetings from Italy
http://mrsdclasses.blogspot.it/2014/01/blogparty-from-italy.html#links/

Daniela said...

How wonderful these deers are, how beautiful to see them so close to home and be able to photograph them without intimidate too much, and especially how beautiful the respect that you have for the animals living in nature!
Here we don't have deers, just roe deers, those who manage to escape from the hunters, alas!
As you know I love nature and we all try to protect the animals that live free, we keep the fence of the property open during the summer and when the hunt is about to begin, in late autumn, we close it, so we keep in our forests safe at least those rabbits and roe deers who remained with us, here they have space enough to feel safe and feed themselves during the winter !

I embrace you and believe me close to your heart in this sad moment.
With affection. xo.
Dany

podso said...

It's sad to see an animal hurting, and this one hung around your house so was on your mind. Deer are so graciously beautiful … I hope he recovered and was able to join the others!

podso said...

It's sad to see an animal hurting, and this one hung around your house so was on your mind. Deer are so graciously beautiful … I hope he recovered and was able to join the others!

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I hope the poor deer will be okay! I don't like to see any animal suffer.

It's very smart of your SIL to go in for testing. I pray that all will be well with him.

ladyfi said...

Lovely visitors, but hope the injured deer heals!

Sheila said...

it really makes a person feel privileged to have such close encounters with deer. It's interesting to hear that rangers will not intervene as long as the deer are still walking. I looked out the window last year to see a doe laying close to the house near one of the snowbanks. I opened the door and she looked at me but didn't move. Later I realized when I saw the pool of blood that she must have just given birth. I wondered if the fawn survived or not …Thanks for sharing an amazing series of pictures, Pat.

Miss Jean said...

How exciting for you to be able to look out and see those beautiful deer! All we have here are bunnies and an occasional raccoon. Of course, I think Maggie and Mollie would go crazy and the deer would never come back.

Hugs to your daughter and son-in-law!

Yvette said...

I too hope that deer survives, Pat. Living so close to wildlife brings with it the responsibility of staying clear. That would bother me, but I would still appreciate the beauty of these creatures and feel for them - as you do - in their day to day battle with survival. Great photos, as usual.

I'm sorry for your family's recent loss, Pat.

Paz said...

I enjoyed reading about and seeing the deer. I'm glad he survived the altercation. You are very special that he felt relaxed enough on your property. Thanks for being so kind and caring towards them. Love the photos. Thanks also for stopping by my blog. I wish you and your family all the very best this new year. Much love! xoxo

gracie1961 said...

Totally a different view from a backyard in NYC right?

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

We have a love-hate relationship with the deer in our neighborhood mainly due to my garden. Still they are magnificent creatures! Great shots and I'll be rooting for your buck too!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

How wonderful to have seen them so close-up!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thanks for your comments everyone! I was away in NYC for a few days and came back yesterday. I'll catch up with you all very soon. I saw the injured deer again this morning and he was still limping badly. :( I will probably call the Rangers for advice if he doesn't improve soon...poor fellow.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I don't know if you follow Julie "Pearls in a Nutshell", she is Lovella's cousin. She had a wounded deer on her property that was quite traumatic; a year later the deer was back with twin fawns and was doing just fine. A limping deer will likely heal over time. They are tough creatures it seems.