It’s all about food. The family of five deer continue to visit in the afternoon and again during the night. I know, they’re “just deer” but I never tire of watching them. I’m observing their behavior and can see that they have a very structured pecking order within the herd.
This one is the ‘watcher’ – and so I’m assuming is the herd leader. It continually moves away from the rest of the herd and seems to be on the alert, looking and listening while the others feed. When it is satisfied there is no immediate danger, it will rejoin the herd and feed, but then moves away again and resumes its post. I’ve observed this time and time again, and it seems to be the same deer that assumes this role. It is the largest in the herd.
This is a yearling – last summer’s fawn. It is the smallest, and is very cautious of getting too close to some of the other adults. It always manages to sneak in though, and get its share.
They spent a lot of time pawing up the snow to get to past layers of sunflower seeds. The one in the background is eyeing the hanging bird feeder. It never did attempt to take it down – but I think it was thinking about it.
When the deer moved on, the birds took over – though they also fed nearby at other feeders when the deer were present. This flock is mostly red-winged blackbirds, but there were also a few grackles, four fox sparrows, white-throated and song sparrows, cardinals, chickadees, titimice, and nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, cardinals, mourning doves, a red-bellied woodpecker, a couple of crows, two ravens, and four wild turkeys later in the day. We went through 50 pounds of sunflower seed in a day and a half.