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Saturday, March 15, 2014

A very tough winter for all of us in the Helderbergs

This is one of the toughest winters that I remember in the 15 years we have lived here. Snowfall is almost double of what we had last year. It has been cold, and today is an exception with temperature above freezing. It will dip much lower tomorrow again. Wildlife has been suffering.

The picture below shows "our" deer a month ago, and they looked in a really good shape. Actually this winter we have seen more deer on our property than ever before. They feed in large groups on the browse at the edge of the field. One morning we saw 20 deer there, and our neighbor reported seeing 30. They come to his bird feeders and try to to eat sunflower seeds.

February 12 - deer looked in a good shape.
Few days ago we had yet another winter storm, which left a glaze of ice everywhere. It stayed on for two days. This is when I took the three pictures posted below. It sure looked beautiful, especially in the sun, with trees sparkling as they were decorated with Christmas lights, but deer were not able to feed at all.

Brunches were covered with ice, and deer stayed hungry.
Deer lost a lot of weight. Some of them (not the one in the picture) look really thin.

Craig Dougherty, our friend and outdoor writer, wrote this article for the Outdoor Life blog two days ago. "As I write this, western New York is cleaning up from yet another winter storm. My whitetails may be in trouble. I’m not sure they can take another hit this late in the season. We began to sound winter deer alerts more than a month ago as the winter weather continued to intensify and spring seemed but a distant fantasy. Sadly, not much has changed since then. Most mature does entered winter with a 90-day supply of fat reserves, but those reserves are running dangerously low. It may be the middle of March, but the thermometer is still saying winter. Most Northern areas are well into what the Winter Severity Index (WSI) refers to as “severe” to “very severe” winter conditions."

We see a lot of wildlife activity on our driveway. I wonder how many different tracks you can see here.
John gets some outdoor exercise every afternoon when he goes for a walk with a dog. His walk are limited to local roads that are plowed. The picture shows Tommy.
Let's hope that the second half of March will bring some warmth and snow melting!

1 comment:

Lindsjö taxar said...

What a difference. ANd we had not so much snow as usual.
Lovely Pictures!