Once again, I awoke around 5 o’clock this morning. I was greeted by the most joyous chorus of birds singing their little hearts out. The sound really travels in the otherwise-quiet still morning, here in the side of this mountain. It really makes my heart want to sing. I was so mesmerized by the beautiful song the birds were singing that I almost didn’t notice the deer.
First the fawns made their way into the yard, inching ever so cautiously closer. I recall thinking how odd to see so many fawns traveling together in a pack. They were a clumsy noisy bunch, getting louder, as they came closer, I didn’t need to see them to know that I had young deer very close-by. I heard them long before I saw them.
They were so cute nosing around for grub. I tossed out some corn taco shells for a nibble or two and more millet, oddly, the deer seem to like it as much as the birds. The gang of fawns wandered away slowly and suddenly these tiny sweet creatures were replaced by 4 does. It was obvious which one was in charge, each deer knew her place and nibbled around in turn. When she got too close you could see the leader raise a hoof toward the offending doe. Just enough to let the doe know she should back off.
One of the fawns appeared to have a patch of mange on her side, but in reality the patch of fur that isn’t normal, could have been caused by just about anything — even rubbing too hard against a tree. One of the fawns was obviously shot through one ear. Talk about a close call.
I remember a couple of years ago. We had a mixed gathering of deer who enjoyed a daily visit to our yard. One of them we named Wendy. He had gotten tangled up in some plastic orange fencing (“deer tape”) and looked sort of like Wendy – the icon for Wendy’s Restaurant. We felt so badly for the deer but there wasn’t anything we could do for the buck. It wasn’t like he was going to hold still so that we could remove it. I’m guessing he didn’t last deer hunting season that year. He was a handsome buck, too. I could be wrong though, because you’re not supposed to shoot in the direction of this tape.
I still can’t properly identify most of the birds that stop by or even those who live here, but I have been trying to listen closer and it’s already paid off. Just last night, I was out on the deck and I heard a strange bird call that was slightly out of the ordinary. I look around and sure enough, there were 3 mountain quail messing around on the side of the hill. I would have missed them, had I not been listening.
If you get a chance, while you are here in Twain Harte, do make an effort to get up at dawn (or just before dawn is even better). Stop and take a listen to the incredible bird sounds of the early morning. You’ll carry those sounds with you the entire day. I know, I do.