Monday, December 28, 2009

More Backyard Tracks

I've had these pictures in my camera since the 18th and I'm glad to finally get the chance to get them into a blog post. We had some snow predicted around this time and I wanted to make sure I got these photos before the snow covered them up because for me they held some special significance. Can you tell what these tracks in the snow are?? If it helps at all, here's a hint: they're on the south side of a large evergreen.....
If you said to your monitor, "that looks like spots where 2 deer laid down," well, then you are absolutely correct!

You probably remember that I posted some photos a few weeks ago (before the snow) of where deer had bedded down in the backyard and flattened the grass. Ever since it snowed and we were still seeing deer in the backyard, I've been on the lookout for any evidence that they're still bedding down and I finally found these 2 spots the morning of the 18th when I was out filling birdfeeders.

Mr. Johnson said I would be able to easily notice where deer had bedded down because the snow would be melted all the way to the ground from their body heat. (I tried finding out what the body temperature of a white-tailed deer is, but couldn't find that specific information. We're thinking that it's probably at least 100 degrees. If anyone knows for sure, please let me know in the "Comments" section, OK?)

So here's a close-up look at the first spot. It looks like she had a good nap and then probably had a stretch and a pee once she got up (just like me after a nap!)

Here's the other spot. Isn't it just so neat the way you can see the impressions from where she had her legs tucked in underneath her? And then her little hoofprints from when she got up and walked away?

The more I see of these deer, the more fascinated I become with them. I really love the fact that they're right in the backyard where I have the opportunity to watch their activities and habits so closely.

When I was out searching for more deer bedding spots (which I didn't find, BTW), I did come across this well-used bunny trail that goes from under another evergreen to the dense dogwood thicket in the backyard. All the little birdies and critters love this thicket and it provides really good protection from predators -- especially hawks.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Great photos Ruthie and most interesting observations. That is one thing snow is good for. ;)

Anonymous said...

I guessed deer from when we had deer in our yard, that was before we trimmed up all the trees, and we don't have a thicket or brush piles [our favorites]. We love your yard with all the creatures and birds, it is truly a backyard paradise for the wildlife.


Mama Pea said...

I guessed right, too, because although we've not had deer bed down in our yard (it's fenced off), we have seen their beds under evergreens on our hikes in the woods. Always neat to see. We've got heavily traveled deer paths right outside our fence that I think must get an awful lot of traffic to keep them so packed down.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Lisa. You're right about the snow -- it certainly helps with my nature detective skillz!

Hi Mom,
I keep thinking I should trim up some of those evergreen branches from the ground, but when I see how much the wildlife uses them, maybe I should just leave them alone.

Good guess Mama Pea! The deer have changed their habits a little bit since we got all our snow and the snowplow piled up big chunks along the road where they usually travel from, but just the last couple nights, we've seen deer in the backyard for corn again. It is interesting to see the way they always pretty much follow the same trail.

Jayne said...

I'd have been a poor excuse for a mountain woman, as most times, I just look at those track photos trying to "see"! How sweet that they are bedding down there for the night and know that it's a safe place for them. :c)

Gaelyn said...

That is very cool you have deer bedding down in your yard. Nice shots that clearly show you comfy they've gotten.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
You'd probably be surprised at how much you do know about tracking! I just have the extra advantage of snow making things so much easier this time of year!

Thanks Gaelyn. The deer had been absent for a few nights, and I'm glad that they're starting to return again. I'm glad I can provide some food and shelter for them and I'm sure they'll repay me by eating my garden again next summer! :-D