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Oh Deer!

It has been a little over a year since we closed on this house (though we didn’t move in until early July 2011 after the near-full renovation was complete), and everything that the previous owners had told us about the wildlife has been true.  There’s been a pretty big backlash in our local area against the overpopulation of deer, but I have to admit we have no problem with them at all.

Deer are definitely the most prevalent.  The previous owner said there was a herd of 11-13, though we typically see groups of 4-6.  The girls and I have done some research online, and with fawns due in about a month, the female deer and their recent offspring have settled into a social group for the spring and summer.  It appears as if the social group that lives in the woods near our house is made up of one lead doe, a younger female deer, and two very young deer (likely the two fawns we observed last year – though they have lost their spots now).  If my untrained eye is correct, the lead doe is expecting again … it will be fun to watch over the next 4-6 weeks.  Only one time since we’ve been here have we ever seen a buck – my husband saw him.  Once.  Our research has told us that the bucks are generally only ever around during mating season in the fall;  aside from that, they are off on their own.  I’ll withhold my comments about that.  My husband in particular enjoys yardwork and landscaping (I do as well, though only to a certain extent) and we do have to watch what we plant in the ground.  The only thing that didn’t survive last year was one particular kind of sedum, and I think we can blame the bunnies for that.

Plenty of bunnies as well – they are harmless.  Moles, unfortunately – we caught our first one in a trap this past week and it was beyond gross.  We’ve seen one hawk on the ground and one owl in a nearby tree, though we hear the owls a lot more frequently than that.  Last year there was a pair of coyotes – again our research told us that they mate for life – but after taking some pictures and talking to the Missouri Department of Conservation, we assumed that the female was close to dying of mange (a parasite).  I saw the male alone a couple times last year, and unfortunately the one time I saw him this year he looked a lot like the female did last year; so I’m not expecting to see him around again.  We also have wild turkeys – sometimes just one, but one time there was a flock of at least 30!!

The girls’ school recently had their nature trail named a Certified Nature Habitat and after doing some quick reading online, I think the woods in our backyard may be able to get that designation as well.  We’ll add that to our growing list of fun projects to do this summer!

Here are some pics of a few of our backyard visitors …

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