Creatures Big and Small-Black-Tailed Deer

Black-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus)

They were the first to welcome us to our new home when we arrived in the greater Seattle area in July 2019.  Two black-tailed deers had come ruminating amongst the wild berries that were growing in our backyard. Coming from Singapore where the only time you see a  deer would be in the zoo, this was such a treat.

And treats we had ever since. Except for the winter months, black-tailed deers, either alone or in pairs or threes and fours, would visit us often, enjoying the berries in summer, the leaves and plants in the fall and spring.

This one actually came specifically for the seeds in our bird feeder.

The only time we weren’t so pleased with them was when they chomped up all my petunias that had bloomed in early spring.

Smaller and darker than mule deer, the black-tailed deer thrives in the Pacific Northwest as there is plenty of rain as well as a cool climate. 

 We often see them when the weather is between 12 degree C to 25 degree C (54 to 77 F) and when the sun is out. Well, who wants to eat in the rain, right?

While the deers mostly seem relaxed, they are quite sensitive to noise. And when frightened, would raise their tails. We haven’t heard them talk, but were told deer communicate with each other with up to 10 individual vocalizations.

Family groups are made up of one doe and her fawns. Sometimes, multiple does can be spotted together.

Bucks begin growing antlers at about six to eight months old, and they become full size when the bucks are around five years old. Adult bucks do not help raise fawns as they are normally solitary during the summer.  Hmm…. 

Black-Tailed deers can live around 9-10 years in the wild and 17-20 in captivity. Does can weigh up to 58 kg (130 pounds), while bucks can weigh up to 90 kg (200 pounds).

Who are their predators?  Coyotes, mountain lions, grey wolves, bobcat, brown and the American black bear.

One can see deers wandering freely in the neighborhood, in the open fields, and even along the sidewalks around here. It is their home.

When we see them around here, we know we am home too.

For further information,

Black-tailed Deer | Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. n.d. Available at https://myodfw.com/big-game-hunting/species/black- tailed-deer

Mihaylo, Karen n.d. Black-Tailed Deer Facts. Available at https://animals.mom.me/blacktailed-deer-6477.html

Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Subspecies Odocoileus Hemionus Columbianus). n.d. INaturalist. Available at https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/42221-Odocoileus-hemionus-columbianus [Accessed 23 June 2020].

Columbian Black Tailed Deer- Interactions. n.d. Available at http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/f2013/hopp_carl/Interactions.htm#:~:text=The major predators that the,Ursus americanus), and humans [Accessed 23 June 2020].

Absolutely Delightful Facts about the Black-tailed Deer. 2015. Animal Sake.

 Available at https://animalsake.com/facts-about-black-tailed-de er

Living with Wildlife: Deer | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. n.d. Available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/living/species-facts/deer# [Accessed 23 June 2020].


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