Saturday, March 16, 2013

Is our critters learning?

A few days ago I looked out the window, morning coffee in hand, and beheld a line of deer walking through the woods -- seven of them. They kept a strictly orderly single file, as they will sometimes do when there is snow on the ground. As they came to my driveway, each would stop, look solemnly first right and then left, before proceeding across and up the hill toward the ridge.

This is truly new. The motor vehicle is undoubtedly their most important predator; now it looks as though they've been watching public service announcements on kiddie TV about safely crossing the street. I have also noticed that the squirrels no longer dance suicidally in the road before attempting to throw themselves under my tires -- they run straight across. Whether this is cultural learning or evolved behavior I do not know; it's taken what, 80 years? But they seem to be getting it.

Has anyone else noticed this?

1 comment:

  1. The squirrels here are still darting suicidally in front of our car, and I haven't noticed the deer taking any precautions. However, one day a couple of months ago we were driving into town when I noticed a deer coming through the woods toward the road. It was moving pretty fast. I made eye contact with it and waved my arms. It turned around so fast and headed back into the woods. I didn't know they could do that so quickly, 180 degree turn in a split second.