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Buffy Facts

Wednesday, February 8, 2017



Buffy comes into the yard to clean up bird seed and cracked corn, but she hasn't gotten the hang of it just yet. She needs to fine-tune her arrival time earlier in the day, before the blue jays get all the corn.


Get a load of her chin and throat whiskers! Buffy! You should  be tweezing. Some of those suckers are 6" long!



I've learned that when Buffy's in the sideyard, Flag and Pinky are usually hanging out in the brushy backyard, waiting for her. Without their mama to lead them, they're shy. They follow Buffy almost as if she were their mom, though. They need to follow someone.

So I shoot a few frames of Buffy, check on her eye, and then run down to the back windows to click away at Pinky and Flag.

I caught a sweet interaction between Buffy and Flag. Buffy's grooming Flag's face.


And Flag grooms Buffy's neck.


You can see how pallid and gray Flag is (like her mama Ellen) compared to warm-toned Buffy. 


It takes me a long time to really nail down individual deer ID. I make it sound easy, but I'm presenting a hard-won amalgam, a distillation of features I've gleaned over many encounters.  Every time I am privileged to see these deer, I pick up some tiny new feature that will help me identify them from varying angles. For instance, it wasn't until February 1 that I was able to notice that Buffy has a fox-red tail! Well, duh! Look at that!


I would add that she has a nice round bottom, too. Buffy's a brick house. 



You should click on this one to see her grizzled hair. I love this shot. 


Of course I am quietly worrying all the time about her left eye. It's noticeably smaller than the right eye. Which makes me wonder about its functionality. And in these shots you can see the problem, especially if you click on them. She's got at least one ulcer on her cornea. In the shot below, it appears as a white dash toward the outside of her left eye. 


Ulcers hurt. That's why her eye weeps all the time, why she was holding it closed for awhile. I look online for information. One wildlife rehab site states: Ulcers may fail to heal due to external causes including continuing trauma, unresolved infection or foreign substance embedded in the eyelid or in the cornea itself.

Given that Buffy's had an ulcer and trail of tears on her cheek for at least a year now, I suspect she has a continuing infection, a deep scratch, or perhaps something imbedded in her cornea. I hope not. I hope one day she comes to me, clear eyed and bright.

I notice, studying the shot above, that she's also got a slight notch in her right distal eartip. I think that she is no longer young.  I am thankful that she can see, that she hasn't ended up like poor Ellen.


Buffy is a survivor, and she is a valued companion to Ellen's twins.


Flag looks back, partially obscured by winter weeds. (Don't worry, her right eye's fine!)
And who's that peeking from behind the dead pine?


Pinky! Click and you can see his pink patent leather nose.





Pinky is even smaller than his sister Flag. And he has a little divot in his right eyebrow that gives him a dubious look. 

Now, having read this post, you can tell Pinky from Flag from Buffy. You're recognizing individual deer.


I'll warn you: Falling in love with whitetails is setting yourself up for heartbreak. Their lives are rarely easy or long. But that's nothing new.  Love, for me, so often walks hand in hand with heartbreak.  I just resolve to love these animals fiercely while they're here, drinking in the myriad things, big and small, that I am privileged to discover about these animals. 

I've saved my favorite photo for last. 


February 3, 2014.

 Buffy, the sometime pugilist, pauses to give crooked little Ellen a good kissing. She couldn't know that three years later she'd be left looking after Ellen's last pair of twins. Ah, it's a sweet, sweet life, when you stop to take notice of it all.


2 comments:

Julie, I appreciate all the time it takes to write this blog, and I love how you present everything. However, dear sweet Ellen's story always has me bursting into tears. And that photo of her remains recently just pushed me over the edge. I'm glad you saved the best for last today. She would be proud of her twins and thankful for Buffy. Have to go find a tissue now...

Whenever you fall in love with one of the creatures that live in the wild, you open yourself up to heartbreak as well as joy. It's not that "Mother Nature is a bitch", as people so often say. It is that she is indifferent. She has no vested interest in any one deer... or eagle... or human. If one dies, there are many more to take its place. I think that this is what makes us rise above nature; we have the capacity to love, not only entire species, but individuals. Maybe according to Nature, this makes us weaker, but it certainly makes our lives feel worth living.

I watch eagle nest cams, and last year was a heartbreaking one. But the joy I get from watching them and falling in love with individuals and family groups more than makes up for the depression I feel when I witness someone's demise.

Please keep us in the loop about these individual deer. I like to think that the love and positivity we send their way helps them to survive in some way. Magical thinking, yes, but it's damned difficult to compete with an indifferent Nature.

Posted by Anonymous February 9, 2017 at 3:54 AM
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