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A Doe Named Ellen

Sunday, March 1, 2009

photo by Phoebe Linnea Thompson

We have a lot of deer on our place, not least because we have our property posted against the seemingly endless hunting season. First there's bow season, then there's gun season, then there's muzzleloader season, and Bill always says that after that comes butterknife season.Still, they persist, though the big bucks all seem to magically disappear off our place, leaving only does and fawns. Hmm.

As an artist and naturalist, I am always looking for something in each animal that I observe, something I can use to distinguish it from its kind. It's in getting to know an individual that I learn the things that interest me most. So when a fawn came in for corn this winter and I got a chance to photograph her, I noticed something different about her.Photo by Phoebe Linnea Thompson

One ear was askew, but it was more than that. Something about her just didn't add up.
Have you ever noticed how Ellen Barkin is beautiful, even though her face has two distinct halves? Cover half of her face with your finger, and then cover the other.

Two different people. I think it makes her interesting, moreso than would perfect symmetry. It's as if one side is at peace, and the other a bit disgruntled. Gives her range other actresses would envy, depending on the camera angle, of course. Wait! That's my mad side.

Zoom in, and you can see this fawn's left eye is lower than her right. And her left ear is canted sideways, and apparently stays that way. I'm thinking this might have been an injury in utero, or perhaps a birth defect. She's not perfectly symmetrical, but she seems to be coping all right.

No ruminant looks quite right when she's chewing, but...Needless to say, I call her Ellen.


I'm betting (...just a hunch) that this is the ONLY post ever anywhere on the entire Web that lists "assymmetrical deer" and "Ellen Barkin" as the only two labels!

I will forever be watching the deer even closer than I have been....I feel I know some of my deer personally by their habits, but so far they all look alike.

You've got to love how "things" pop into our heads and then we make sense of it all! It'll will be interesting to hear more of Ellen. Perhaps she'll return next year!

I have always thought Ellen Barkin to be one spunky person, especially after Ronald Perelman unceremoniously dumped her. She didn't take it lightly, and is seeking her rightful due.
Sorry--sort of got into a Hollywood mode there. Since there are no buck hanging around your property, there is no buck named Ron nearby.

"butterknife season" LOL... hope the hunters surrounding your homestead appreciate Bill's sense of humor.

I met someone last week who could be classified the same with either Ellen. It was all about the mouth and eyebrows, now that I think about it.

I'm so of two minds about hunting. I couldn't do it myself, but I'm not against it. In my area, the "natural" predator of deer is the automobile. We have killed off the other predators, though coyotes are making a comeback. There are not enough of them to do the job. So, I do think hunters provide a valuable service here.

We do have a rifle, bow and muzzloader season in some of the more outlying state parks. These are all separate seasons. It barely puts a dent in the population.

The target range for deer population in Lake County, IL, is 12-18 an acre. We currently have 40-80 deer per acre in our forest preserves.

The ground and understory levels do not exist in a lot of forest preserves/state parks here, they have been grazed off by deer. The juvenile shagbark hickories and baby oaks never have a chance, let alone trillium, hepatica, tiarella, etc.

I do understand the weariness that comes with successive rifle, shotgun, bow, muzzle-loader, butterknife deer seasons, there are entire chunks of the year when I dare not set foot in my local forest preserve/wildland/state park. Even if I'm wearing day glo orange.

Apparently, some hunters mistake barn cats for deer.

I hope Ellen lives a long and healthy life on your property. She is quite cute, and my heart went out to her the second I saw your pictures! April

Ellen the doe is more beautiful than Ellen Barkin. But that may be just me.

Interesting post. I never paid attention to asymmetrical aces of animals before. Going to keep an eye out for those things from now on.

I've never though to look a deer so close in the face. They all look the same to me, but then again I only usually see them from a distance.

I must need to go to bed, because I read "Dog" instead of "Doe"...and I'm looking at your pictures wondering, "Where the heck is the DOG??"

So you have marker birds and marker deer. And I wonder who else would have noticed Ellen's very slight asymmetry?
You are Science Chimp, also known as Julie the Observer.

Roy Scheider too.

What a lovely picture by Phoebe! She has definitely got artistic genes.

Just think of the Google hits you're going to get with this post!

She's beautiful even if a bit less than perfect. In fact, PSYL is right: the deer is simply more beautiful than dearest Ellen Barkin will ever be. Maybe it's the lack of cosmetics...

Great observations about both Ellen Barkin and that beautiful doe. I love when an animal becomes a distinct, recognizable individual. There was a buck that would come to our place in Washington every once in a while, but we always recognized him because of his obviously bent antlers. We called him Bent Horn.

What a cutie! It must be so much fun to be able to pick out individuals among the critters on your property.

Fringe-ear was a huge bull elk who frequented my sister's yard in Conifer, Colorado. He did them the honor of shedding one of his massive antlers by the birdfeeder one February. They have the offering dated and carefully preserved as one of their treasures.

Thanks for this post. I think Ellen's asymmetry just makes her more lovely than the average doe. It's as if she's being viewed through slightly wavy glass. I wonder how she looks reflected in that blue reflecting globe? (An ex-boyfriend had a fascination with those things, and postulated that they signified membership in a secret organization bent on world domination. The globe's color denoted rank, with silver the lowest and gold the highest. So I guess that makes you and Bill middle management.)

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