Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Urban Herbivores

One significant change that has been taking place in the Washington landscape and not always a welcome one for those that care about landscaping is the increase in the deer population. I came across the two shown below while doing some work in Port Townsend.

I took the pictures without a telephoto. These guys were very close and seemed a bit put out by my presence. Port Townsend has a good mixture of small brushy open space mixed with urbaness. The urbaness may have kept deer away in the past, but now it is an attraction and likely provides protection from cougars. I usually see deer when I visit PT. Last summer I followed a deer trail under a thick growth of English ivy and came face to face with a buck that for several seconds appeared to not want to yield to my presence - enough time that I realized I could be in a bit of trouble.
I suspect there has been a slow behavioral and genetic selection process taking place. Bolder deer willing to inhabit areas in close proximity to people are rewarded. And PT is not the only place. Even in the very urban sections of Bellingham deer have moved in. Last summer two deer occupied our ally sleeping in the tall grass in a section of unfenced yard. It took a concerted hazing effort to get them to move on.  

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