Tag Archives: Whitetail Deer

Whitetail Deer are becoming Hungry



Grazing on grass
Grazing on grass

This weekend a great Friend and myself, visited a Cemetery in London Ontario, We were able to count at least 40 Bucks, does and fawns, all in the same area.As you View the images, note the distended stomachs, the ribs showing under the  fur and the wounds due to lack of variety of foods, and there increasing numbers as we as Humans encroach on there territory.

Cemetery Deer
Cemetery Deer

Enjoy the information, Deer should not eat grass, its to tough, but these whitetails were munching away for many hours as Humans we must Move UP instead of OUT Higher apartments

and if we do keep moving OUT into there territory, leave them be, go inside, safekeep your dogs, cats., close all doors, keep Garbage out of there way to stop them from returning, remember you encroached into there backyard, not vis versa, so LIVE with them peacefully.

whitetail Deer (10)

Thank you, this writer and most Humans would agree…………

Whitetails  (Odocoileus virginiansis )  have been around a long time. The species is 3½ million years old, and they are such awesomely successful survivors that they have not changed over these millions of years. They did not change because they are so well designed they did not need to.

While whitetail ancesters are not as ancient as the ancestors of other deer ( Muntjac ancestors arose in the middle of the Miocene Epoch [22–42 million years ago], while the whitetail ancestors came along in the late Pleiocene [3.4–5.2 million years ago] .) But whitetails are the oldest living deer species.

whitetail Deer (8)

The strength of the whitetail is its flexibility; they are ecological generalists, or opportunists. This means that, as a group, they can get by in all sorts of environments, different climates and temperatures; they can eat a huge variety of foods…they have been documented eating fish, dead birds and insects! Their flexibility allows them to coexist with human development; they are frequenters of farm crops and back yards, and can also be serious pests, not only agriculturally, but on the road causing car accidents and human deaths as well.

There are 37 subspecies of whitetail in North and South America (This does not include the mule deer and blacktailed deer which belong to a separate species), but DNA testing is showing that many of the deer now listed as subspecies are actually just locally adapted versions of the near-perfect original.


whitetail Deer (7)

Whitetail like to live in the woods, dry or swampy, and the borders of woods.  And whitetail love water.  They are excellent swimmers, and will swim safely out to sea to a distance of five miles! The typical whitetail, restricted to open grass plains, would not survive.

whitetail Deer (6)

Although, to everything there are exceptions, and whitetails for example who are facing deep, obstructing snow that slows their escape, or even traps them in place, will then yard on flat, windblown prairies. They are choosing the less dangerous of two very dangerous options. Their normal way of escaping predators cannot be used in open country. When yarded up in winter the herd is preyed upon by predators, and it is mostly the young, the old and the sick on the outer edges that are the ones attacked. Hoofed animals that live out in the open, such as elk, are usually distance runners, and if they can run faster than their predators and outlast their predators, who for the most part are also good runners, they get to live another day.

A whitetail in the open though is a sitting duck for a pack of wolves, coyotes or dogs who are committed to the chase. As a group, whitetails are hiders, dodgers and sprinters, not distance runners, who like to out run and put obstacles between themselves and the predator.

The whitetail deer’s first concern is safety, so their environment must have what they need to allow them to maximize their best protection strategies. The doe with fawns is more intensely safety conscious than the buck, and a buck in rut can actually get quite stupid and forgo safety for the chance to breed. But, if the food is great, but safety is not, deer generally will shun that location in favor of a more secure place.

Individual whitetails are extremely loyal to their own territory, although they will leave it for up to several days if they are being hunted there, and they will leave it permanently if it becomes unsafe. In these cases their loyalty to their deeply ingrained anti-predator instincts win out over their attachment to the home territory. However, there are stories of whitetails that have starved rather than leave a barren home territory, in this case their attachment to their home keeps them on a doomed path to starvation.

If their habitat is invaded by competitors, like exotic deer, the whitetails compete poorly. Whitetail deer in Maryland were being pushed out by the oriental sika deer until conservation management helped them out. Overall, a specialist will out compete a generalist in an established area, but while the specialist may win the battle, the flexibility of the generalist, over the long run, lets them win the war.


whitetail Deer (5)

The whitetail dietary flexibility stops at grass. They did not develop into grazers like some of the other deer species. They did not develop the special teeth or stomachs that can efficiently grind up and digest the tough fibers in grasses (like the horses and bovines did for example). The types of deer that do graze (like the axis deer) prefer to follow behind the coarse grass grazers so they can eat the new-sprouting, more tender shoots that spring up after the first “mowing”.

whitetail Deer (4)

Whitetail, like all deer, have incisor teeth (the cutting teeth in front) on only the bottom jaw, and a cartilage pad on the front of the upper jaw (They have molars on both upper and lower jaws.) This tooth pattern causes them to pull out the grass rather than to cut it like the specialized grazers do. The tender base of the grass is low in fiber, more nutritious and more digestible. So while whitetail can digest some of the grasses’ most tender shoots, overall they would not thrive on grass alone.


whitetail Deer (3)

When deer eat they are feeding themselves, but they are also feeding their gut microorganisms. Deer digestion is 100% dependent on them. They help break down the food, and without them the deer cannot digest. Deer are ruminants, meaning that they bring their food back up to chew it again. If a deer, or any ruminant, starves to the point of also starving off the good microorganisms, in order to survive, the deer will need to get not just food, but needs to get replacement gut flora too. Even with all the food a deer could want, it would starve to death if the gut flora is not replaced.

For their special type of digestion deer have stomachs with four sections, all in a row. The first section, the rumen, is where the food goes first after it has been chewed and swallowed. It can hold over two gallons, and this lets the deer bolt down a large amount of food if necessary so that it can quickly leave an area to return to safety. It is in the rumen that food is held to be brought up into its mouth later for rechewing, this is rumination or “chewing its cud”. The food is then ready to go to the second section of stomach, the reticulum. The real digestion takes place in the third section, the omasum. The last section of stomach is called the abomasum, and here the food is pelleted and routed for exit.


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Whitetails are exquisite in their grace and beauty, and under special conditions, where their nature and needs are understood, they can be tamed and kept as pets. It is definitely not a commitment to be taken lightly though. Whitetail deer live 20 years or more in captivity, and have many special needs…not only to be comfortable, but to simply survive.

It is important to realize that deer are prey animals, while dogs and cats for example are predators. Deer are more like birds and horses who make their way in the world by being constantly alert and ready to take flight at the least whiff of danger. A prey animal will only turn to fight a predator as a last and most unwelcome choice. The prey animals that live the longest are the ones with the keenest senses, reflexes, wariness, brains and physical fitness. Its flight response though is what powers the frightened deer that will, in blind terror, hurl itself into a solid object, off a precipice, into fencing or other damaging situation, and kill or injure itself.

whitetail Deer (1)

A pet deer will, bit by bit, relinquish its profoundly wild instincts as it is tamed. An animal that is imprinted (using the word loosely) on humans will allow a person into its most intimate, personal space, and will allow very familiar physical contact. An animal that is merely hand-tame will allow closeness usually only to accept food or limited petting, and it would bolt off in a panic if you, for example, tried to hug it. Many wild animals’ personal spaces shrink with familiarity. They might know that a particular dog never behaves in a predatory way, and so pay little attention to it, even allowing it into it’s familiar personal space. A tolerant, pen raised deer might accept a distance of, say, 20 feet between itself and its caretaker, but have a stranger come along with the caretaker and the deer will blast off in a panic. Or, if the familiar person tries to close that 20 feet to 15 feet, the deer’s flight response will kick in with full force. Finally, a completely wild animal will have its natural, unadulterated “flight distance”. Just as humans have their own personal space that, if intruded upon, will make them feel crowded and alarmed, other species as well have their own typical distance that, if trespassed upon, will trigger flight. For the whitetail this distance is 200 feet, while for the pronghorn for example it is 500 feet.

White tail deer fawn1

Tame bucks though, because they are tame, can be killers. In the wild a buck has an intense need to preserve its own flight distance, and would not think of coming close to a human, and that is exactly what protects us. Once that need for distance is gone, the aggressive, rutting buck (even more so if a person happens to come between the buck and a doe he is courting) has no sense of needing to preserve its space, and that is when he becomes seriously dangerous.

Whitetail Deer1

sources :wikipedia/suwanneeriverranch/natureworks/whitetaileddeer



Doug Worrall



Cootes Paradise Just gets Better-Hamilton

At Valley Inn this week


My Favorite area for wildlife
My Favorite area for wildlife

Osprey action has been minimal with most of the birds having left two weeks ago-Yesterday saw one, will attach image-taken with morning light.


I also heard from other photographers The odd Osprey is still in the area and one was pursued by an adult Bald Eagle Tuesday, which was unable to retrieve the fish the Osprey dropped.

I have never seen a Bald Eagle.

Some mud flats have appeared and we get a few late shorebirds most days. Wood ducks are staging up in the area, a few fly over most days within photo range.

Great Egrets have been few so far though 2-3 are often present. With a few opportunities for flight shots.

In Flight Egret
In Flight Egret
egret dancing
egret dancing

The three Green heron  that have been around for several weeks are still here but will move south soon. Great blue and Black-crowned Night Herons are often within camera range though this year the Black Crowned numbers are very low at Valley Inn.Yesterday one flew into camera range-it is attached. But they are not as easy to capture.

Whitetail deer
Whitetail deer
Just before Fog Moved-in
Just before Fog Moved-in
In Flight
In Flight

Warblers have been seen in moderate numbers all week, Woodlands cemetery is best in early morning

Blue Heron
Blue Heron

King fishers have been active lately, yesterday saw four in one tree.


Cedar Waxwings are beginning to appear in numbers, look for them feeding on Honeysuckle berries

A good shoot this week has been a tame Ruddy duck, present for several days and very approachable-albeit I missed HIM

Night Heron
Night Heron

Wild Asters are abundant and bees gathering winter pollen have been very numerous this week

Sources-Area Update-Wikipedia


Doug Worrall


Whitetail Deer Cootes Paradise Hamilton

Lake and Sea’s Voices Hamilton

Sunday May 8 2011

Whitetail Deer

As site coordinator I am out on the road daily, weather permitting, seeking out that illusive photograph of the day. This morning the air is permeated with the smell and taste of spring, both refreshing and invigorating. I met up with some fishing buddies, all of whom greeted me and conversed with great ease. The peace and comfort of being with friends in the midst of an idyllic spring. Then I observed the three sets of nesting mute swans, but felt it was time to pack-up all the gear and E bike home.

Birth cootes paradise


As I was exiting Princess Point, then up Macklan Road, directly to my right I saw two grazing Whitetail deer, a buck (seen in the photographs below), and a doe that was further into the ravine. Stopping the E bike slowly, without creating too much squeaking from the back brake, I noticed that the deer did not bolt. Now I had to change my lens as quickly as I could. After removing my AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G ED and attaching the AF Nikkor 80-200mm 1.2.8D, the doe had wandered too far away to capture it. Due to my shaking hands after a long morning on the E bike, the pictures came out quite well after considerable cutting.

Enjoy the photographs and information below from this magical and wonderful day.

Doug Worrall

Cootes Paradise 8AM
Lake and Sea’s Voices
We know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
The darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and spring lightning,
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry
In the laughter of the lake..
The lake is within us, the sea is all about us;
The lake is the land’s edge where white-tail deer look on,
Also, the granite,
Into which the lake  reaches, the beaches where it tosses.

Birth Cootes Pardise



The sleeping swans, awaiting young cygnets,
The pools where it offers to  curiosity,
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
The sea howl and the sea yelp, are different voices,
Often together heard: the whine in  the rigging.
The menace and caress of waves that breaks on water,
As the distant rote in the granite teeth,

Signets from last years broods



And the wailing warning form the approaching headland
Are all sea voices,
The seagull and mute swans,
Are under the silent fog.
Sailing into the wind’s tail, to the drift of the lake,
In a drifting boat with a slow leakage.
Like a river with its cargo

Canadian Goose chick



The ragged rock in the restless waters,
Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it.
“Fare Forward” for those who saw the harbour receding,
You who came to port, who were in the boats and ships,
Ended their voyage on the sand, in the lake’s lips
To the silent listening of the bell’s clamour.
Source:   adapted   from T.S. Eliot Poems,  The Four Quarters

Nesting area 2

Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) Cootes Paradise Hamilton

Whitetail Deer are the OLDEST DEER, having evolved about 3 million years ago. They have been characterized as emblematic of the countryside. But, they were nearly extinct just one hundred years ago. Population Density is today’s conservation concern. Currently there are 30 million whitetails in North America. Conversely, 6,250,000 are harvested annually which is more than any large animal in the world.

Wonderful sight to see

Cootes Paradise

Wetlands run into-it

Cootes Paradise is a 600-hectare wildlife sanctuary highlighted by a 320-hectare rivermouth wetland. It is located within the crest of the Golden Horseshoe, at the western tip of Lake Ontario separated from the lake by a historical glacial beach called Burlington Heights, and surrounded by the Niagara Escarpment. The wetlands surrounding old growth forest supports a wide variety of plants and animals including rare and threatened species. Its location makes it an important migratory bird stopover and as a result the area became a formal sanctuary in 1927.

The sanctuary is also located at the transition between two major yet largely fragmented biomes—the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Life Zone and the Carolinian Life Zone. Historical land use changes around the many inflowing rivers degraded the wetland and led a major ongoing restoration initiative – Project Paradise. Beyound the shelter of the adjacent Niagara Escarpment, Cootes Paradise is surrounded by agricultural, residential, industrial, commercial and recreational lands. Its urban location makes this sanctuary a vital link to other adjacent Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve areas in the region including Spencer Gorge, Dundas Valley, Iroquois Heights and Borer’s Fall’s/Rock Chapel. Cootes Paradise Sanctuary is designated a nodal park with the Niagara Escarpment system, and is also the last Escarpment to Lake Ontario link not bisected by a 400 series highway.

Perfound Calm

The wetlands 30,000-hectare watershed acts as the catchments for three main waterways: Spencer Creek the largest creek in the region, as well as Borer’s Creek and Chedoke Creek. Many smaller streams also drain from the adjacent escarpment, including Delsey Creek, Westdale Creek, Long Valley Brook, Hickory Brook and Highland Creek. The Dundas Sewage Treatment Plant and four Combined Sewage Overflows (CSO’s) – now greatly reduced by holding tanks, also discharge into the inflowing creeks.

Building her nest

Due to its scale and location, Cootes Paradise wetland is considered one of the most important migratory waterfowl staging habitats on the lower Great Lakes and the largest nursery habitat for fish in the region. The Government of Ontario has designated Cootes Paradise as a Provincially Significant Class 1 Wetland and an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). It also is listed as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) in the Hamilton Region. Other significant designations include IBA (Important Bird Area), IMPARA (Important Amphibian and Reptile Area) and National Historic Site.
Research and monitoring
The Gardens is home to a wide variety of mammals ranging from little brown myotis and beaver to coyote and whitetail deer. Most of the Gardens’ activities relating to mammals involve preventing them from damaging the living collections, such as fencing off the hedge collection to prevent deer browse damage during the winter. However, mammals associated with aquatic environments, such as beaver and muskrat, are monitored, and an inventory of small mammals is periodically performed.


Cob mute swan building-up nest

The gradual degradation of Cootes Paradise was detrimental to the resident muskrat population. In the late 1940s to early 1950s an estimated 5,000 muskrat were found in the marsh and the area once supported muskrat trapping. Yet, by the early 1990s only about 70 individuals were left.

Improvements in habitat have allowed the local muskrat population to gradually increase. This is most evident in the ponds of Hendrie Valley where sightings of muskrat are common, with the valley itself now containing well over 100 muskrats and a dozen beavers. Muskrat lodges are also creating new habitat for waterbirds to nest on.

Nesting swan number one "Swannee"

Regrettably, the increase in the number of muskrat has led to some difficulties in the various marsh restoration planting activities. New plantings of aquatic vegetation need to be protected by wire mesh to prevent excessive feeding by muskrats. At the same time mink, a natural muskrat predator, are also increasing, helping to keep muskrat numbers in balance.

Some things never change

Sources, wikipedia


Doug Worrall Photogaher

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