Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Credit: Steve Hillebrand/US Fish and Wildlife Service
Who am I?
Duh. I’m a Deer! A brown deer! A nimble deer! An elegant deer! (Not a killdeer – that’s a bird!) I’m the only kind of deer you will find in Maryland … unless, of course, you are on Assateague Island where we can be found hanging out with our cousins the Sitka deer. We are the largest wild animals in the forest, and can weigh in at 300 or more pounds! We are a rather controversial animal even though we are just trying to eat enough to survive and raise a family. Sometimes we eat pretty flowers and humans get mad and start shooting at us. Sometimes when we cross the road we don’t look both ways and may run in front of one of those fast, noisy human carrying things. Those machines are dangerous – they can kill us, and sometimes when we are hit we even hurt the humans inside.
So, about us … well we really just wander around and eat, mate and try to keep our babies safe. We mate in the fall and we will have up to 3 fawns that are born six months later -- in late winter or early spring. We will sometimes mate in the spring as well. You know our fawns; they are brown with white spots which allow them to hide in the forest.
I remember when I was young, my mother would leave my brothers, sisters and I alone for hours. It was lonely and quiet. Mom never hid us all in the same place. After about 6 weeks I no longer needed to drink my mother’s milk and we all went out eating together. My sisters and I stayed with mom for a year or two before we left to start our own family. My restless brothers took off after the first year – you know how boys are! So now I have my own family and we hang out together. Because that good for nothing father abandoned us I am a single working mom with 3 fawns. Who knows where dad went – he’s probably hanging out with his male buddies, munching leaves, playing chicken with those human carriers and otherwise getting into trouble. Men!
Where can you find me?
We can be found everywhere in the United States (except Hawaii, the deserts and Alaska) and throughout southern Canada. We prefer rather dense forests but can be found in cities and suburbs as well. We are nothing, if not adaptable. We especially like suburbs and farm areas because there are lots of things to eat and lots of small dense forest areas around neighborhoods and fields where we can hide and sleep. Dump a pile of corn in your backyard and we will find you! Even if you have never seen us around. We really don’t want to hang around humans though – they are dangerous. Sadly they have taken over our forests and built houses and farms and shopping centers so now we have no choice but to live nearby. Alas.
What do I eat?
We eat plants, so we are called herbivores. We can eat all sorts of plants, even plants and parts of plants that might not seem very tasty or even munchable. We can eat all sorts of plant stuff because we, like cows, have lots of stomachs! In our case we have 4 stomachs, each one helping to break down our food a little more until we get the good stuff – the nutritious bits! Of course, we have to chew our food really well – twice in fact. We chew, swallow, throw up our food and chew it again! The fancy word for this is called “regurigation”. This allows us to get energy from woody bits of plants, like bark.
What might eat me?
Yeah for humans! They have killed most of the wild animals that used to eat me; critters like wolves and mountain lions. Boo for humans! They and their dogs and their dangerous machines are about the only things left around that kill us!
Cool reasons why I am the critter of the month!