How Do White-Tailed Deer Change Ecosystems, Anyway?

Credit:  Robert Woeger ,  Unsplash Some facts about deer  An adult white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus , that might weigh between 100 and 150 pounds, must eat about 8-12 pounds of fresh forage every day. They eat a wide range of plants, from flowers to shrubs, to tree saplings, and in oak woodlands, acorns. All of these plants share the characteristic of a certain softness: deer lack upper front teeth, so their browsing involves a sort of mashing and tearing unlike the cutting and biting employed by many other herbivores, large and small, from rabbits to cows. It’s easy to identify deer-browsed areas, once you know the signs. Often there are browse lines at about four feet, below which everything looks as though it’s been trimmed—mature trees and bushes lack lower limbs and leaves, saplings remain stunted, if not eaten to the ground, and flowering plants have lost buds and flowers. In addition, there might be few flowering plants or shrubs, and a preponderance of grasses, sedges

Do Your Backyard Plants and Animals Display Phenophases?


Of course they do. This is a blatant come-on for the USA National Phenology Network. As I wrote in Something New to Do With Your Lilacs, USA NPN is looking for citizen scientists to record observations of common plants at their website. The observations will be put in a database that will track the effects of global warming on these species. How will plants and animals adapt? Will they bloom earlier? Show up in our area earlier? This will be one way we'll find out.

I was just over at the site and they've redesigned it to make it easier to use, and have added selected animals to the species you can monitor. I've added bumblebees to my lilacs, but the Illinois list includes herps, birds and even white-tailed deer (hard to miss in my neck of the woods!).

I urge anyone in the U.S. with a concern about global warming and a garden or access to an outdoor area, wild or not, to take part in this effort.

BTW, my lilacs have leafed out. How are yours doing?

Comments

Martha Upshaw said…
Wow, Adrian! Enjoying reading your blog as I contemplate planting my flowerboxes on the balcony of our 18th floor highrise. I don't actually plant until after Mother's Day, but I like to think about ways I might make changes.
africanaussie said…
Thanks for visiting my blog Adrian, you have brought up some interesting topics, and I enjoy your quotes as well!
Martha,

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to know what you plant up there. Do you grow herbs as well as flowers?

africanaussie,

I'll visit again soon.