Seen This Week + Pittsburgh’s Deer Won This Round

Afternoon light in Schenley Park, 3 Jan 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

6 January 2024

Pittsburgh had a rare moment of sunshine on 3 January. I was happy to be outdoors during the Golden Hour in Schenley Park.

This El Niño winter has been so warm that bulbs sprouted in my neighborhood in December. Here are four of the many I found on New Years Eve. That exposed bulb would never have survived in a normal winter like those we used to have just a decade ago.

Flower shoots emerge on New Year’s Eve, 31 Dec 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)
Pittsburgh’s deer won this round.

At Carnegie Museum in Oakland this week I discovered that deer damage near the rear parking lot was so severe that gardeners removed all the Japanese yews. It took two years and an ever-burgeoning deer population to reach this stage.

All the yews have been removed at Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, 3 Jan 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

Last August there were fewer yews than in 2022 because the damaged ones had been removed. Unfortunately the deer were severely browsing the now exposed healthy yews.

Damaged yews at Carnegie Museum in August 2023 (photo by Kate St. John)

Here’s what they looked like in August 2022. Those in front had been eaten bare and died. The next tier was severely browsed and those in back were still normal because the dead and dying yews protected them.

Deer damage on yews at Carnegie Museum, 16 August 2022 (photo by Kate St. John)

The bank of yews could not survive with so many deer.

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