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Watching roe deer in the snow


It has been cold this winter, but I've still been going on loads of walks. The walks have all been in the Pheasant Woods to try and watch the roe deer that live there.

Winter is tough for deer. All the water they usually drink is frozen, even the big lochs in the Pheasant Woods. The grasses and plants they normally eat are buried under snow. This means they have to try harder to find food and explore new areas.

This female roe deer was in the valley at Duck Skull lake. She was with two other roe deer, eating the shoots at the end of the branches. She was easy to spot because in winter, deer coats get darker, and they stand out against the snow. You can see the dark fur on her snout and round her ears. When we watched the roe in the summer, they were a brilliant orangey red. Now they are brown and grey.

This photograph was taken on a different day. This roe deer looks like she's talking to a pheasant. Pheasants aren't at all scared of roe deer, and don't mind them. It looks like it has a tail but roes don't really have a tail. This is just a white tuft of fur that female roe deer have.

Here's a roe buck. His antlers looks strange because they're growing and have fur or 'velvet' on them. The velvet on roe deer is thicker than other deer to keep the roe antlers warm as they grow in the winter. Roe deer antlers fall off in November and start growing back in December. These antlers already look quite big.

Here are two female roe deer feeding together. I think they are a mummy and child. The child will be about seven months old, and will stay with the mummy for another two or three months.

There is a lighter patch on the neck of this doe. I think it is part of their winter coat, but I'm not sure and I can't find it out on the internet.

Because it has been the coldest winter for lots of year, it will have killed some of the very old and very young deer. We should start to find their bones in March.

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