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Birds, Wildlife and Gardening

Wild things living in my garden

July 14, 2021

A month ago I spotted twin newborn fawns in my front garden. They’re still out there most days, only they’re much bigger now and will take flight rather than crouch and hide. The bold one watches warily if we come outside while it’s enjoying an evening lie-down in the sedge lawn.

Here he/she is again, a veritable Loch Sedge monster. Shall I name it Nessie? Its timid sibling tends to keep its head down, hoping not to be noticed.

A couple weeks ago I popped outside one evening to check on a sprinkler and found two does, each with a set of twins, attracted by the water. (This is why I don’t have an ornamental fountain or birdbath in the front garden. I’d rather deer stay wild and avoid enticing a herd of them into my garden every day.) They crossed the street, and I kept my distance too, not wanting to alarm the protective does.

They are awfully cute when they’re babies. But as Frank Hyman points out in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Urban-adjacent deer multiply at the expense of forest tree seedlings, songbirds and native plants…” Click through for a less “Aww, Bambi!” perspective than mine.

Speaking of adorable but voracious, I saw a cute baby rabbit in the garden one day. Rabbits are also a pest in sufficient numbers. Still, I hope that nature will keep things in balance. I found one young rabbit half-eaten a few months ago, right after I’d seen a hawk flying over the garden. We also have great horned owls and screech owls and, lately, a raven. Coyotes too. Run fast, little bunny.

One of the biggest moths I’ve seen flew by one evening and landed on a live oak trunk, where it was well camouflaged. Austin entomologist Wizzie Brown ID’d it on my Instagram post as a five-spotted hawk moth.

But always it comes back to deer in my garden. Here are the twins hanging out in the sedge lawn late one evening. I’d gone out to photograph a datura in bloom and startled them. What I could hardly see in the dark my iPhone camera picked up pretty well. They’d stood up and were deciding whether to make a run for it. No need, little guys. You’ve trained me to give you as much of the front garden as you need for a safe place to lounge. Just don’t even think about trying to get into the back garden.

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