Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

THROUGH THE WOODS: Kilroy deer at the window

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Kilroy deer at the window. Photo by Nancy Jane Kern

LAST JANUARY THE SMALLEST, thinnest little fawn came to my yard and licked up the corn I had thrown out for the birds. His mother came with him and she could reach up and browse on leaves and branches, but he couldn’t reach them. I could tell he was a male from the horn “buttons” in front of his ears. Larger deer dug down through the snow to reach the green grass below and the little fawn waited until they moved on and ate what was left. I started putting out extra corn on the ground near the porch and he was so hungry he came close. This was good because the other deer were too afraid.

He was a late-in-the-season fawn and he tried to nurse his mother without success. She chased him away. During the winter, does (female deer) let their offspring travel with them without allowing them to nurse because they are carrying new fawns. Tiny, weak winter fawns are easy prey for our numerous coyotes. A year ago, the emaciated fawn walked up the porch steps and ate the birdseed on the floor. I heard something and suddenly his little head popped up and looked in through the window at me. I got a photo, wrote an article about him, and a reader suggested I call him Kilroy after the cartoon character who peered over windowsills.

Much to my delight I fed Kilroy until spring, and he fattened and survived. I stopped feeding the birds on the porch in March and took down the feeders, so the bears don’t destroy them. Over the summer Kilroy came to the lawn and ate a little bird corn and by fall had grown 3” spike antlers. Bucks shed their antlers in January and Kilroy’s were gone this month.

I am feeding the birds corn and seed on the porch again and I wasn’t surprised when I heard Kilroy clomping up the front steps today during the wind-driven all-day snowstorm. He was covered with snow and ice and looked in the window as usual while licking up the bird corn. I went out and replenished it three times so the birds could eat and each time he was back for more. He looks up at the hanging feeders and I wonder when he will go after them. That will be a problem but a lot less destructive than a bear. He is alert now and can run like the wind when needed and I look forward to seeing him again.

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