Monday, November 25, 2013

White-tailed Deer grazing along the boardwalk...

If you're walking the boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park in Toledo, OH, you're bound to see a few White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the woods. We saw a doe with her fawn several time while we were there...

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) - a young male fawn, or button buck
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawn along the boardwalk at Maumee Bay. 
The vibrissae (feelers or whiskers) around a deer's eyes look like giant eye lashes. A deer does have upper eyelashes, but not lower eyelashes; however, the beautiful vibrissae extend three to four inches from above and below the eye. They function, just like in cats and dogs, as feelers to help the animal feel its way around by warning it that something is near its face. Deer have vibrissae on the chin and by the nose as well. Vibrissae are embedded deep in the skin and are surrounded by sensitive touch neurons. In addition to warning the animal of an object's proximity, vibrissae seem to help with identifying objects.

A male fawn (six months old or younger) is called a button buck. If you look in front of his ears, you'll notice a "button" on each side. These are where his antlers will grow next year.

The boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park and Lodge. Deer can be spotted near the boardwalk as you stroll through the woods. 

Mama deer sees me while her button buck continues to graze.
While reading about White-tailed Deer, I learned the White-tailed Deer is the state animal of Ohio. It was designated our official animal in 1988. For all of the state symbols, click here.

A White-tailed Deer fawn and doe graze in the afternoon sun.

Camouflage and a little grass bed kept this doe out of view. I only saw her because the Golden-crowned Kinglet I was photographing (in the photo below) dove down into the grasses by the deer's hiding spot. 
If I had not been following this tiny kinglet I never would have seen the deer. When I lost sight of bird, I moved the lens to the right, and the deer from the previous photo popped into view!

White-tailed Deer Grazing from Kelly Riccetti on Vimeo.

I took these photos on Nov 4, 2013.

For more information:

Deer Facts
Click here for "How to Tell a Doe From a Button Buck," by Jane Maggitt
Click here for "White-tailed Wonders," by W.H. (Chip) Gross, ODNR

Click here for an excellent source that explains "Vibrissal behavior and function," by Tony J. Prescott.
Click here for a more simplified description of vibrissae in an article in Psychology Today titled, "Why do Dogs Have Whiskers?" by Stanley Coren, PH.D.
Click here for an even more simplified description of "How do whiskers work?" by Steve Harris at Discover Wildlife.

Deer Vision
Click here for a description of a visual capabilities study at the University of Georgia, "Investigation of Visual Abilities of White-tailed Deer."
Click here for "Ask the Deer Biologist" for an answer to the question, "What colors of light can whitetails see?"(Pennsylvania Game Commission)


Sue said...

Gorgeous photos of my arch nemesis-the deer. Ah, they do love to munch all my flowers!
Interesting post, Kelly.

Montanagirl said...

Nice post, Kelly! I enjoyed the video. That deer never stops watching and listening while it eats.

TexWisGirl said...

they're just beautiful. i don't get to see them on run*a*round. the closest was a couple of miles away on a secluded dirt road.

Our photos said...

Your photos are so beautiful!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

What lovely eyes and faces these deer have. I love seeing wild animals when I'm out walking, though I don't often see more than a few birds and a tortoise!

Mary Ann Gieszelmann said...

Wonderful photos, Kelly! How close were you to the grazing doe? I ask because we could hear her chewing.

Kelly said...

--Mary Ann, I was about 20 feet away standing very still on the boardwalk. I was zoomed in using my 200mm lens with a 2x converter, so shooting with 400mm. The Nikon camera takes wonderful videos and often picks up great audio!

Banjo52 said...

More kinglet! Good deal!

One of the places I walk has a lot of deer, and I should be ho hum about them by now, but those faces . . .

Your shots are so crisp! Again. Good info again too--I've never heard "button buck" before.

Esther said...

I can't believe they have 'eye whiskers'! They are gorgeous. :)

Janice K said...

I loved your pictures. It almost felt like you could reach out and pet them. I didn't know about the whiskers either, although it certainly makes a lot of sense.

Thank you for sharing, and have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

Kelly said...

Thanks, everyone. I know.....those eyes and "whiskers" get me too. So beautiful. As deer become more numerous in our area, they are more habituated to us humans. It is amazing how close these deer come to the boardwalk. They are wary, but continue to feed without hesitation.

Midmarsh John said...

Brilliant detailed photos and video Kelly.

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

What a lovely series of photos, you have captured the deer beautifully.


Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

My goodness, what lens are you using? The close ups are awesome and you give so much info with your post. I am learning so much, its never to late in life to keep learning.