Thursday, August 9, 2018

wild life

Black wings beating, 15 or more turkey vultures flew into the air as we came around the corner. They circled low, and some just watched warily from nearby, perched on downed logs, even the ground. They were feeding.

What do they have Major? He was unconcerned about their flapping wings and presence, we see them often enough. A closer look revealed a very dead deer, looked to have been killed the night before by a cougar, blood still red. The cougar had eaten the good parts, the vultures were starting the cleanup.

We rode on. A few hundred yards further, we found her fawn, dead on the trail. The tiny thing wasn't much bigger than a large housecat. Perfect spots on its soft-looking fur, no sign of damage, big brown eyes glazing over. Did the fawn run off, then die from exposure in the night? The fawn was harder to deal with. We left it there, more vultures would come along to do their job...

Sad, but that is wild life. It is not a circle of life, but a line for each creature. How long is that line? No one knows. The trails can be harsh, but usually it is just tree branches attacking me, rocks underfoot and steep terrain. I'd already stopped Major once this ride when a California Mountain King snake, beautiful red and black, was right alongside the trail! We didn't want to step on that beneficial creature. Now I was just a little sad.

Major couldn't care less. He didn't seem to notice either dead deer, just wondered why we were stopping when we could be trotting the sandy lower trail! We walked awhile while I thought about how pretty that little fawn was. These are the second babies of the year for our local deer population. They are already dealing with lack of water and food this time of year, so these babies have a high mortality rate.

Around another corner, we walked into a gully, briefly hidden from the lake view. It was still a bit muddy from months underwater, and we continued on. Up ahead, two fawns and their mother raised their heads and warily watched us. These fawns looked stronger, and were eating the green grass sprouting up along the lakeshore. I stopped just to admire them, then we took a few more steps and they bounded into the shrubbery.

I wished them well.


  1. I always love seeing the baby deer near us. There's a doe who frequently has twins and they're so fun to watch playing.

  2. Their nervous system is so sensitive that they can have a heart attack from being touched by a human. The baby could have died from fright.

    1. certainly. We will never know. Life is hard for those tiny babies.