Surviving the long, cold winter

You don’t appreciate the impact that a long winter and a cold spring has on wildlife until you see a couple of survivors like this.

This buck has catabolized a lot of what was probably a massive frame of muscle, as he slowly starved during our long, cold winter and delayed greening-up this spring.

This buck has catabolized a lot of what was probably a massive frame of muscle last fall, as he slowly starved during our long, cold winter and delayed greening-up this spring.

This animal doesn't look quite as emaciated, but has something strange going on with its fur which has turned splotchy white in big patches.

This animal doesn’t look quite as emaciated, but has something strange going on with its fur which has turned splotchy white in big patches.

I was out looking for warblers at one of the local parks when I saw a small herd of four deer working their way through the shrubs coming toward me.  They were so intent on grabbing every green leaf they could, they just ignored me, even as I walked closer to them.  Leaves have only just emerged from buds the last couple of days, and so it has been more than six months since these deer had anything resembling nutritious food.  No wonder they are in such bad shape.

Now, he needs to grow a new set of antlers for the coming rutting season, an added energetic expense for an already energy-taxed animal.

Now, this buck needs to grow a new set of antlers for the coming rutting season, an added energetic expense for an already energy-taxed animal.  

4 thoughts on “Surviving the long, cold winter

  1. Thanks, Sue, for prompting me to think about an aspect of wildlife that I’ve never really thought about before. This past winter I have focused so much on birds and the ones that did not migrate seemed to have adequate food. The mammals that I did see (beavers and muskrats) had enough to eat. Since our weather is much more forgiving than up north, I suspect that our deer don’t have the same problems. In fact, several months ago there were warnings in my marshland park that they were using archers to thin out the herd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s