Buck in Birch Shadows

In the past few years, I have seen quite a few deer in my backyard munching on various plants. But the summer of 2010 was the first (and only) time that I have ever seen a buck with a full set of antlers. How handsome he looked standing under the river birch tree, decorated with leafy shadows. I picked up my camera and quietly walked outside, hoping to get his photo before he ran away.
To my surprise, when the buck saw me, he just stood there unmoved by my presence. I could almost hear him thinking, “Oh…it’s that lady that I’ve heard about. She is the one who shoots deer with a camera instead of a gun. No reason to leave.”

We looked at each other for a few minutes and then he went right back to eating the clover. Even though he acted as if he was completely unconcerned, he continued to keep his head turned in my direction. I could tell that he was watching me.
Because I wanted to get a better look at his antlers, I decided to try to come a few steps closer to him. However, as soon as I started to move, he shifted his stance, raised his eyes in my direction, and I heard him thinking—“Don’t you dare come any closer.”Buck-Deer_5
Respecting his unspoken wishes, I stopped my advance and stood in silence watching the speckled shadows of river birch leaves moving across his body in rhythm with the summer breeze. He stayed for a little while longer, and then he turned and wandered off into the woods—leaving me with a wonderful memory.

About Mary Strong-Spaid

You can find me any time wandering around in my own mind gathering thoughts.
This entry was posted in Deer, Nature, photography, wildlife and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Buck in Birch Shadows

  1. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a mule deer that I’ve forgotten how much different they are than the whitetails here. Thank you for reminding me what magnificent creatures they are.

  2. wodezitie says:

    Wow! You must feel lucky to have shared this moment with the deer.

    • Yes…most definitely. Most of the time, it is the mothers with their fawns who visit my backyard. This was the first (and only) buck I have seen….and he was alone. Maybe it was one of the little fawns all grown up, coming back for a visit. 😉

  3. ajaytao2010 says:

    Your post are well thought, and well orchestrated,

    Nice post and better put

  4. Lynne Ayers says:

    As I read this I thought of my mother who had a similar sensitivity to nature and her pets. Nicely written.

    • When I was writing and looking through these photos last night, it made me think of something I had recently heard on the radio. Bill Engvall (comedian) was talking about what happens when you make the mistake of taking your wife deer hunting. At the end of his story, when he says he is about to shoot a big buck deer, his wife suddenly yells out, “Run Deer, Run…Run…Run!” (which is exactly what I would do). 😇

  5. Nice photos. I would suggest that the buck’s wishes were hardly ‘unspoken’, he made them very clear. Fortunately you understood his language well enough to realize he wasn’t ready for his close up!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lovely photos. Sounds like you are ‘in tune’ with nature

  7. yepiratehere says:

    Quite amazing! Very nice post..

  8. kiwiskan says:

    Beautiful shots…

  9. Lynda says:

    A rare encounter, and nicely photographed. I love the dappling of the light and shadow, Mary.

  10. I absolutely love your respect for that deer Mary and your care in not getting to close so as to invade his space. In my many years as a landscape photographer I’ve watched a great many people rush off toward animals to get that great shot but scare it away and lose the opportunity for the most important photo of all–the one that is captured in our hearts. With a respectful approach like yours though, you almost always walk away with photos AND memories. Very nice!

    • Thank you, Rick. What a nice name to have….Braveheart!
      I do my best to listen to unspoken thoughts and honor those.
      Humans put too much value on words….that is why we are often manipulated by lies (empty words).
      It is better to quietly listen to the “air” around things and observe movements, because that brings one much closer to the truth.

  11. Nice story; I do agree that a buck in the yard can be startling and also exciting. We have a small yard across the street from a forest preserve and though I’ve seen a rare buck in our patch of forest, they have only visited our yard a couple times in our 27 years at this home. Like you, such moments call for as much “shooting” as possible.

    • Yes. We are surrounded by protected land also–Civil War Battlefield.
      We see a lot of deer (moms with their babies), but this is the only buck that I have ever seen in my backyard…….and we have lived here for 10 years.
      Maybe he was one of the baby fawns that I took a photo of a year or so ago. Coming back to visit?
      Many people complain about deer in their yards because the deer eat their expensive “landscaping” plants. However, as far as my husband and I are concerned, the deer were here first.
      So, I researched and found out what they like to eat. Since they love clover, we let it grow in with the grass. They also love the acorns from the oak trees, so we leave them on the ground. As a result, the deer do not feel compelled to eat the plants close to the house.

  12. Such a magnificent looking fellow.

  13. What an amazing happening. Magnificent photos of such a wonderful encounter.

  14. ajaytao2010 says:

    deer like to eat clover so we let it grow along with the grass

    Mary you are a complete person you seem to be so content with small things, I love the minute details you go in to Like the deer like to eat acrons

    contentment excellent

  15. Lovely pics and he’s a great specimen!

  16. ajaytao2010 says:

    I Nominate you for the The BEST MOMENT AWARD
    Please accept & oblige.


  17. Pingback: BEST MOMENT AWARD | Ajaytao 2010

  18. Amanda Wood says:

    Lovely photos and story. Thanks also for visiting my blog…

  19. e says:

    I love the way the dapples play with the perception of focus!


  20. Anonymous says:

    It was a good thing you stayed put, my brother happened upon a buck one year in Pittsburgh and he ran at him, with rather large antlers, he had to take cover in an apple tree or on top of the Well house. Beautiful pictures, wish they would be so accommodating with me, as soon as I pull out my camera, it’s the back end view.

  21. dorannrule says:

    What a beautiful post! And thanks for visiting my blog too. We are not too far from each other.

    • Oooh…I didn’t see your comment!
      My poor organizational skills strike again. 😉
      I see you live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.
      I was up there for the first time in the Fall (2012). It was raining off and on that day, and absolutely beautiful.
      The colors of the tree leaves, and the valley beneath under the shadows of the passing clouds.
      I posted a few photos of that area in ‘Mysterious Witch of Shenandoah.”

  22. v says:

    Nice photos. Glad he chose to stick around. They usually run away.

  23. eric.rial says:

    Looks like you have some pretty sweet grass there for him to munch on! Nice photos, love the post.

    • We tried to grow grass, but were not too successful.
      It’s mostly clover. It’s green and the deer like it, so….good enough for me..

      • eric.rial says:

        A couple houses back we had a lot of “beneficial clover” in the lawn. Sometimes that was the only green part of the lawn. No deer though, too many fences in California. We did see a coyote running down the street one evening though.

  24. I have been surfing online greater than three hours lately, yet I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s lovely value enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content material as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

    • ‘Longboard’–Thank you very much for the compliment.
      I looked at your website. My grandson lives in Texas and he also has a Longboard.
      He loves it. I will forward your website to him, so he can look at your photos.

  25. Sharifah says:

    Such a lovely post – really enjoyed it.

  26. Clowie says:

    They are beautiful photographs! How lovely to see an animal like that in your garden.

  27. Kavita Joshi says:

    Lovely read..thanks for sharing dear…thanks for visiting my posts

  28. Isn’t it grand to be so lucky (the same happened to me in Colorado when I lucked up in getting some elk shots and my first-ever moose photos)? He’s a beauty, Mary. More thanks for some of your additional likes for my posts “Blue Daffodil”, “Pearl the Spider” and “A Hawk Begins the Celebration”. Here’s hoping we both find some more happy accidents!

    • You wrote your comment in March….and I see it on the first of July?
      Time slid right out from underneath me when I wasn’t looking! Where did it go? Where was I? I agree. It is nice when we come across something special and are able to enjoy those “happy accidents” with camera in hand.

  29. Gator Woman says:

    Knew I would love it!!! Thank you for sharing him with us~

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