“Eat or be eaten”: Bird-eating deer

Deer by Craig Lewis via Wikimedia Commons

By Craig Lewis via Wikimedia Commons

Seriously. Bird-eating deer.

Apparently, deer will snack on nestlings and even on adult birds whenever they get the chance. What’s more, deer aren’t the only herbivores that occasionally supplement their diet with meat and poultry. Cows have been caught doing it too. The usual suspects such as weasel, fox, and other carnivores don’t seem to do half as much nest looting as the creatures we like to think of as either strictly prey or “steak-on-a-plate”.

It’s time to revisit that conversation between Bambi and Thumper:

Young Thumper: Those are birds.
Young Bambi: Bur… Bur!
Young Thumper: Look! He’s trying to talk with his mouth full.
Young Bambi: Bur!
Girl Bunny: He’s trying to say “bird”.
Young Thumper: Say “bird”.
[wiggles his nose]
Young Bambi: Bur.
[wiggles his nose]
Young Thumper: Bird.
Young Bambi: Bur!
Young Thumper: Spit out the feathers, Bambi, it’ll be easier to talk.
Other rabbits: Come on, say “bird”. Say “bird”!
Young Bambi: Bird! Delicious!

As one commenter wrote on this rather delightfully written article,

“the end is deer”.

Read: Field Cameras Catch Deer Eating Birds—Wait, Why Do Deer Eat Birds?

A curious ambivalence toward beauty

P1010127I was just admiring some pink tulips that are brightening up my kitchen table on this extremely cold (-16C) and blustery winter day. I like them well enough, in fact tulips are one of the few cut flowers that I do enjoy. But as I was looking at them it occurred to me that I am curiously ambivalent about cut flowers. What’s that about? I am a passionate, if not obsessed, gardener. My perennials beds have so many different colours in them that it looks like a colour wheel exploded in my backyard. With the exception of Sweet Peas (which beg to be cut and deserve to be capitalized) and the occasional delphinium bloom that falls over from its own weight, I very rarely cut flowers from the garden to bring into the house.

Then I realized why. To me, flowers cease being “plants” when they are stuck in a vase. They are beautiful, of course, but they are not alive. I guess I regard them in the same way I would a fur pelt – gorgeous, but no longer an animal and not nearly as interesting.

That’s just my own quirk, of course – I’m not being judgemental. And fair warning – the wise man who comes to court me will bring the entire plant with him.

 

Put Out the Welcome Mat for Leafcutter Bees in Your Garden

Heather Holm is a gardener and a naturalist and a great writer – a big inspiration for me! I love her articles on houzz.com and this one – all about leafcutter bees – is well worth checking out. Once you finish reading it you’ll never again curse the creature that bit a half-moon shaped chunk out of a leaf on your rose bushes.

Show me the drought-tolerant alternatives to lawns

I’m a firm believer that we devote too much real estate, time, and resources to lawns – so it’s nice to have an alternative to point to for once. Here’s a stunning example of a drought-tolerant planting – in a “hell strip” no less. It’s primarily Blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) with several varieties of sedges. If all the hell strips in suburbia were planted this way you’d see a whole lot more people getting out of their cars and walking.

This image comes from Houzz.com, where the gardening and landscape stories are definitely worth checking out. If you’re interested in ecologically-friendly gardening, I recommend any of the stories written by Benjamin Vogt.