Tuesday, September 8, 2009

138 - The Hidden Life of Deer; Elizabeth Marshall Thomas



Despite the fact that I contracted Lyme's Disease from a deer tick a few years ago, I still love watching deer.

In The Hidden Life of Deer: Lessons From the Natural World, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is an Anthropologist who lives with her family in a wooded area of New Hampshire. It was not unusual for her to see deer, wild turkey, bobcats, coyotes and sometimes even an occasional bear. One fall, a few years back she noticed that the acorn population was almost non existent. Since wildlife tends to depend on acorns to help get them through the harsh winter months, she decided to spread some corn (some 100+ pounds of it, over the course of the winter). Initially, she thought she was feeding the wild turkey in the area.

The wild turkeys did come, but so did about 30 deer, over the course of the winter: doe, bucks and even a few fawns. The author began to track what she saw, who she saw etc in her yard and nearby fields. She also hiked into the woods, studied trails, feeding patterns on trees, and reported her observations in this book.

Although I thought it was interesting to learn about the feeding patterns, feeding chains, and wild life etiquette as it relates to who eats first, I found some of what was contained in the book to be somewhat heartbreaking. (I'm a softy when it comes to any of God's creatures). So, I admit to glossing over a few sections.

All in all it was still an interesting read. If you are interested in learning more, read this one for yourself and decide.

8 comments:

  1. Oh, I bet I couldn't read it, even though I'm interested!

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  2. Interesting sounding book. I love to watch the deer cross up in the mountains. It's a lovely sight. The mothers are so watchful and protective over their young. Thanks for your review.

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  3. It certainly sounds like an interesting experiment of sorts, but, as you mentioned, I can imagine how heartbreaking it could be in spots too. Thanks for another great review, Diane!

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  4. I wanted to read this until you mentioned the heartbreaking bits. I hate to cry over books that make me sad. Animals always do it to me.

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  5. I love to see deer, too, but there were so many of them when we lived in Auburn that people used to say, "the first thousand you see are cute." We saw them in our neighborhood all the time and we knew lots of people who were in car accidents with them.

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  6. Bermudanonion, I have heard that, too, from friends in Nebraska: deer everywhere! Because we only see them up in the mopuntains here, it is a special treat when we do.

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  7. I really like non-fiction books about nature and wildlife, so this one sounded good until you mentioned how sad it is. I am torn between wanting to read this, and wanting to keep away. I just don't need another sad animal story right now. Great review though!

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  8. Last year, I was a peer educator in a class that this book would have been really great for. I'll recommend checking it out to my professor. Thanks for the review.

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