Friday, March 6, 2009

Scruffy Deer

I observed a gang of three disheveled looking deer browsing around eating the vegetation at Sabino Canyon this morning. Their fur appeared to be a little messed up with matted patches. At first I wondered if they could have encountered cacti or a mountain lion. Then, I was concerned they might be sick.

Later, I was relieved to learn that deer molt in the springtime as they shed their thick grayish winter coats and grow reddish brown summer hair. And, it's not uncommon for them to spend more time grooming themselves and each other while molting, which could explain the odd looking tufts sticking out like cowlicks.



For comparison, below is a more sleek looking deer that we were able to snap a photo of two months ago. We don't see deer every time we go to the canyon. Maybe one out of every ten visits includes a deer sighting. It's even less often that we even try photographing them. They tend to shy away from people and seek privacy behind dense thickets.
Arizona White-tailed Deer Odocoileus couesi

12 comments:

deedee said...

Wonderful pictures! I find it amazing that deer can live out there with cactus. I would have thought the same thing - sick, cactus, mountain lion - too. I can't seem to get my dog to sit still for a picture. Pictures of deer? Amazing!

Martha said...

Nice shots. I've noticed that with coyotes, too. They look like they have mange some times of the year but they are just changing clothes. The sheep they use here to mow the vegetation are not shorn and they look strange while they are molting but are very pretty and clean in their new coats.

Julie said...

Awesome. I didn't know about the molting, and just LOVE that I can learn so much from you!

I seldom see them, anymore, nor our neighborhood bobcat, but I see all their tracks all the time. My husband saw a family (including the buck with his big rack!) cross a major roadway near homes just the other evening. To see them as often as you...you're so fortunate! :)

What amazes me is that their hooves are dainty and hard and their legs so long and stiff, and yet they scamper around the rocky hill- and cliff-sides like nothing... SO agile...!

Thanks, Diane. Seeing your experiences captured and explained this way is ALMOST as great as taking the walks with you. :)

Valeriannah said...

Love the Deer pics. Thanks again for visiting my pond. Glad you enjoyed the video. I just snapped a couple of shots of a pair of Goldfinches that stopped in for a visit this morning. They perched themselves up in the dead wood of the Honeysuckle. The Honeysuckle managed to survive, and has some new growth coming out of the base. I have another Honeysuckle that is flush with my living room window. That one fared far better despite the snow and cold. That one is cool because you can sit inside just a few feet from the hummingbirds that feed from it.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Interesting Diane... I'll have to watch and see what heppens to our deer this spring. I'm sure they've had their winter coats on ---but today is gorgeous here. I even have my doors and windows opened to get in some fresh air. Feels incredible.

Have a great week in "God's Country".
Hugs,
Betsy

Lance said...

They do look scruffy, and I didn't know that about molting either. We have deer every now and then in our backyard. I really like the second picture, with the deer in the background looking on.

IcyCucky said...

Wonderful photos, Diane! It is wonderful that you could take such a close-up pictures of them!

Gaelyn said...

Definately a bad hair day. But you did great getting the captures. Deer are fleet of foot and difficult to sneak up on.

Teri C said...

You saw deer! How exciting is that!! Great photos.

Joshua Miguel said...

Very nice. We dont have deers roaming around our country. It must be lucky of you to have a glimpse of these humble creatures.

Natural Moments said...

Shedding the old to try on the new. It's always a good plan for me.

LisaNewton said...

After having living on the East Coast for 20+ years, I've had many experiences with deer, and some of them, not so good. I didn't realize they had a molting season.

Thanks for the great info and wonderful pictures.........:)