Friday, January 30, 2009
Deer, Deer, Deer...
Black-tailed deer are very common in our coast ranges, and one of their favorite things to do is cross rural roads at dusk. Smart drivers take blind turns at more moderate speeds in the evenings and nighttime, knowing that to damage a "deer-in-the-headlights"* is to damage your vehicle as well. You can drive past them pretty closely, but if you stop and get out, they "high-tail it" (run away), because you're doing something unexpected.
They can sometimes be seen grazing in the valley pastures alongside horses and cattle, but they mix in a lot of browsing of tender new shrub growth and low hanging tree leaves into their diet as well. Often, an old orchard looks as if someone pruned all the limbs and twigs about five or six feet from the ground, but actually the work is done by deer. In the autumn, they love to eat fallen apples, and rural gardeners need to protect their rosebushes from being completely stripped of leaves.
*This phrase is often used to describe someone staring wide-eyed in confusion in an overwhelming circumstance.