The deer most of the year are dilletantes as they wander through the yard. They snack on a bite here, a bit of impatiens there, and they cannot resist Swiss chard. But in general it’s a sampling sort of wander.
That always changes in the fall, as mating time nears. But this year, it is over the top! For one thing, there are more deer than usual. The norm is for 3 to 5 deer to wander around nibbling. This year, there are 3 does traveling together, plus a doe with a fawn, and a yearling doe by herself. Then the bucks, also pretty much together. A 10 pointer, normal sized, and a quite large 12 pointer, whose antler rack is huge – plus a smaller, younger 8 pointer with just a small rack on his head, who wanders along.
And they are really eating, all of them, all of the time. They are extending their necks to get the safflower seed out of the long feeder, and eating all of the no-mess peanut mix I put on the patio for the birds. Every last crumb! Plus the regular bird seed that goes on the concrete bench – it is licked clean. As many times in the day as I might spread seed there, it is licked clean.
Most days, I fill the safflower feeder and put bird seed out on the bench late in the evening, so that as the birds wake in the mornings, they can eat. The cardinals are the earliest risers. I often wake at 5 or so, and swing a glass full of no-mess out across the patio for them.
But now, when they fly in before dawn, there is no seed left. The deer have moved in even earlier and scarfed it up.
This will all change before the end of Thanksgiving, as the rut ends. It is pretty awesome to watch nature’s plan play out in my back yard.