Oh, Deer! We Live in a Zoo.

One of the two fawns, the most recent additions to animals that call our property home.

One of the two fawns, the most recent additions to animals that call our property home. It’s a cutie.

A few weeks back I blogged on the pregnant black-tailed deer that had taken up residence on our back porch. See here. (Bucks are hanging around now.) Several of you commented that you hoped mom would bring by her babies and introduce them. Well, she did, yesterday. Twins. I think Peggy may have bribed her with an apple.

While Mom searched for apple quarters, the kids checked us out. We were about 15 feet away.

While Mom searched for apple quarters, the kids checked us out. We were about 15 feet away.

I like this shot because it demonstrates just how small these fawns are. They are less than one month old.

I like this shot because it demonstrates just how small these fawns are. They are less than one month old.

Snack time for two.

Snack time.

Check out the length of the legs! (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Check out the length of the legs! (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Remember how Mom looked in our windows? Now the bucks are doing it.

Remember how Mom looked in our windows? Now the bucks are doing it.

And bed down in the madrone next to our house— a favorite hangout for the deer.  Note: the bucks are still in velvet.

They also bed down in the madrone next to our house— a favorite hangout for the deer. Note: The bucks are still in velvet. This guy will be a three pointer and possibly a four pointer when his antlers stop growing.

Mom had hidden the fawns until they could run. I guarantee they can. They were cavorting all over our yard, like kittens or puppies. Peggy and I sat out on our back porch and watched. A young buck that was hanging out didn’t know how to relate to the babies, especially when they decided he might be a source of milk. It was pretty funny. He gently suggested that they go play elsewhere.

"No, I am not your daddy." Bucks can be fairly aggressive but they are amazingly gentle when it comes to fawns.

“No, I am not your daddy.” Bucks can be fairly aggressive but they are amazingly gentle when it comes to fawns.

This morning, a herd of deer, the downhill crowd, gathered around some shrubs Peggy and I had recently planted. They circled the fence I had built, looking for a way in. It drives them crazy that they can’t get to all of those succulent young green leaves. Finally they gave up and bedded down next to the fence. At one point we had four in a row.

The deer circled the fenced in shrubs, looking for a place to get in. Each day they check the area out to see if something has changed.

The deer circled the fenced in shrubs, looking for a place to get in. Each day they check the area out to see if something has changed. I have strings tied across the top with flags attached. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Finally they gave up and bedded down next to the fence, ready for a nap.

Finally, they gave up and bedded down next to the fence, ready for a nap.

At one point, there were four sleeping in a row along the fence. This is tow of them. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

At one point, there were four sleeping in a row along the fence. This is two of them. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

There is no question about it; we live in a zoo. Our phone has been buzzing. The neighbors are reporting that another bear has come down off the mountain to check out our neighborhood as a possible food source. We hear the dog telegraph each night. They have a special bark for bears. It’s horrendously loud and goes on and on. But we welcome the warning. When I was away at Berkeley last week and Peggy was home alone, the bear came by and took out our garbage can. The can is now living in our shed. If I see the bear, I will advise it, however, that it isn’t wise to mess with Peggy. I don’t.

On the other end of the scale we have the lizards. We park our outdoor shoes next to the backdoor and the lizards think of them as mansions. Given the fact that I wear size 14, maybe they are. Anyway, it is important that we turn the shoes over and give them a sharp rap before we put them on. Peggy failed to do that once. She was painting our shed and her toe had a continuous twinge. Concerned, she pulled her shoe off to see what was wrong with her foot. Out popped a lizard. Boy did it disappear fast.

A lizard duplex.

A lizard duplex.

And ground squirrels, I swear they breed like rabbits. Not even the snakes, foxes, hawks and coyotes can keep up with their burgeoning population. Three years back I bought a Have-A-Heart trap and began transferring them across the river to Bureau of Land Management property, one at a time. It was slow work. This year I wised up and bought a Squirrelinator, a special trap that can accommodate several squirrels at once. I’ve had as many as four.

The first squirrel of the day caught in the squirrelinator trap. He was working hard at getting out but not before he stuffed his cheeks with all of the birdseed I had put in the trap. He spit it out when I came up to take his photo, like he didn't want to get caught with the evidence.

The first squirrel of the day caught in the trap. He was working hard at getting out but not before he stuffed his cheeks with all of the birdseed I had put in the trap. He spit it out when I came up to take his photo, like he didn’t want to get caught with the evidence. He was still getting rid of it. Check his fat cheeks.

The squirrels growl and chirp at me when I pick up the trap to put it in my truck— but I sing to them: “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go.” Odds are they may meet their grandmother or grandfather, not to mention brothers, sisters, cousins, parent, aunts and uncles. I’ve transported lots of squirrels, 15 this last week alone. It’s never dull here. Just wait until next week when five grandsons descend on us.

A final photo of the twins by Peggy.

A final photo of the twins by Peggy.

21 comments on “Oh, Deer! We Live in a Zoo.

  1. You do have to get creative when so many things want to eat your garden! Consider yourselves very lucky to have that zoo going on. We have wild boar but they’re notoriously shy. In all the time we’ve been here (12 years) have only seen one when returning home in the beam of the headlights. They have left us a calling card on the barn mat once though so they’re not shy in coming forward at night. Our wild forest has reached a certain type of maturity as it’s turned into a Rookery in the last year – each night hundreds come to roost and the sound is magnificent as is the sight when they all take off for work in the morning.

    Your fawns are a delight as are their nearest and dearest.

  2. I’ve seen many fawns in the Sierra foothills, but never that close and besides I don’t have your photographic talents. This series is exquisite. Fawns are the most adorable looking creatures. All baby animals are gorgeous and very moving to look at. But the fawns…
    And I love what you wrote about the mother and father. Animal parenting is very interesting. I love the quails and the way they care for their little ones. Males and females together, and also with other quails.
    You are fortunate to live in the zoo and not to have to go to the zoo, too often sad places in comparison to nature.

  3. You weren’t kidding — you really do live in a zoo. And I’d be very wary of putting on my shoes before checking. A lizard would have scared me to death! Now, here’s a question: how do you know those fawns are twins? Did you compare each of those dots? 🙂

  4. So glad the fawns came back for a visit. It’s a bit of a funny conflict, man versus nature. We love the animals, but don’t love them to eat our green leaves. Here, we live in a bird sanctuary, but often wonder why there have to be so many of those darn birds. 8)

    • And another momma doe brought by another set of twins this morning. 🙂 I am pretty sure the moms are showing their kids future sources of food. “Now be sure to stop by the Mekemson’s house daily and see what they are growing. ” Bird sanctuary sounds like a fun place to live, Susan. –Curt

    • Thanks Hilary. It comes from being a nature boy. As a child, I spent untold hours wandering in the woods with my dogs as my main companions. The wonder, fun, and beauty of the natural world has never left me. –Curt

    • With a very high fence. The one with the shrubs is small but the string across the top with flags stops the deer from jumping in. They spend a lot of time thinking about it, however. –Curt

  5. Hi Curt: Oh how we’ve missed your blog. Sorry we’ve been ghosts for so long. Such is the life of a writer. And that’s where we’ve been. traveling through our character’s journey while penning book two in our P-7 series. But we’re back now in the blogiverse and at one of our favorite haunts. These pictures are so precious Curt. We’ll be sharing them with our blogging buds. We recently watched a video on Facebook where a man hand feeds a deer in his home. Leaving the link with you as I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrOLo49u7zQ

    • Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out. And welcome back! I’ve missed you. And I get the book business, having self-published my book on Africa this spring. What a chore. Of course now the marketing is supposed to start, and the next book. Sigh. –Curt

  6. Despite all the deer and fawns I’ve seen, I never have seen them napping. Honestly, I can’t even remember seeing it in a documentary. It’s my favorite photo of the bunch. The fawns are adorable, of course.

    I am a little puzzled by the squirrel. You mentioned “ground squirrels,” but the one in the trap looks like a garden-variety gray or fox. When I think ground squirrel,I think of something like a chipmunk. Do we have a terminology difference here? Or do you have the hunkiest ground squirrels in the whole, wide world?

    • They just plop right down, Linda. I don’t think I ever saw them sleeping either although I found lots of deer beds over the years. Yep, it’s a ground squirrel. They come by the dozens around here and happily live in holes in the ground as opposed to trees. The adult Belding ground squirrel is about the same size as a grey squirrel. They are a far west squirrel found in both northern California and southern Oregon. The ground squirrel you are probably thinking of is the Golden Mantle ground squirrel, which looks rather like a large chipmunk. It’s the Golden Mantles that you find begging wherever people gather. 🙂 –Curt

  7. OMG… Does Poeggy know you selected her as your Rambo protection against bears?! After you took on cockroaches in your WC in Liberia?! Shame on you! But indeed, you and Peggy are so blessed to have so much of Mother Nature around you…

    • Peggy has always been quick to get behind me in bear encounters, Koji. I suspect if I got in serious trouble, she’d take on the bear, however, poor fellow. And yes, we are lucky to live in such beautiful country. –Curt

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