White-tailed deer are opportunistic eaters.
During the cold, snowy, winter months, Maine deer take advantage of whatever food they can find to stave off starvation and stay alive until spring.
Today’s trail camera video from Barak Gurney provides evidence that deer will sometimes eat less desirable browse. The doe appears content to munch on some balsam fir needles.
“First, deer in winter are not looking to gain or maintain weight, they’re looking to slow the decline, and they will take whatever is somewhat palatable and available,” said Nathan Bieber, deer biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “A deer nibbling on fir in the winter is not alarming.”
Fortunately, the deer in the video doesn’t appear to be eating balsam fir out of any sense of desperation, as it looks relatively healthy. Bieber noted that a deer eating fir in the summertime would be cause for concern.
“Second, the deer looks pretty stout. Body condition is worth noting more than what she’s nibbling on,” he said.
Thus, the doe pictured should be able to get through the next three or four weeks with no issues.
Thank you so much, Barak, for sharing your video with Bangor Daily News readers! Thanks, also, to Nathan Bieber for providing his expertise.
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