Jun 13 2013
While hiking in the Laurel Highlands several weeks ago I heard a hooded warbler alarm call. I looked for the bird and discovered a large deer browsing in the area of the warbler’s voice.
Though I couldn’t see the warbler I knew why he was upset. Deer eat birds’ eggs, baby birds and any small bird that can’t fly away. The deer was as big a threat to his nest as a bear.
Years ago at Powdermill Banding Station I learned that deer are one reason they’re careful to quickly retrieve birds from the mist nets. If they delay, deer eat the birds trapped in the nets.
In the video above two parent birds try to drive off a buck who’s browsing in the vicinity of their nestling. The nestling tries to escape but cannot fly well. The parents’ efforts were to no avail.
Deer are so omnivorous that trail-cam studies have shown they’ll readily eat from carcasses of their own species.
Nature is full of surprises. Deer are not vegetarians.
(video from YouTube)