Other than birds and perhaps the odd rabbit, I don’t see much wildlife in the city in which I live. That’s natural - or, as we are talking about concrete and glass overwhelming the environment, maybe I should have written ‘unnatural’ . But now and then, I observe unusual visitors to the city.
I was riding my bicycle home from work yesterday at about four o’clock in the afternoon, and saw these two animals downtown. This was right in the centre of a city of 80,000 people. It was behind Southminster United Church, an old and attractive building (and therefore I’m surprised it hasn’t been demolished). My city is not Toronto or Montreal; it’s not even Victoria. But it can be busy and noisy. The street in front of the church constitutes the main street downtown.
But these two deer seemed quite at ease. They were not startled by vehicular traffic or by my presence. They peered at me a few times but were unconcerned, and spent their time eating (and one took a minute to relieve himself.)
I have seen deer in town before. In fact, one night, a few years ago, in the winter, I returned home very late to find three on my neighbour’s front lawn. But that was when I lived in my house, and there is a more or less continual path of parks and green-strips the deer can follow to and from the outskirts of the city. As well, it is a residential neighbourhood and was very quiet at that hour. Even so, one must wonder why the beasts would bother entering an urban area at all.
And as for the downtown area, though it has parks, there is no connecting greenery, no ‘road’ of vegetation for deer to follow. Yet this is not the first time I have observed them even in this area. Once, about eleven o’clock in the morning, I saw some in the alley behind the very building in which I live now, which in turn is not far from the church the animals visited yesterday.
Whatever the reason for their foraging deep into a small city, these deer appeared untroubled by the commotion that was routine about them. They are likely veterans of such expeditions. I hope that they made it back to the country safely and, I suspect, they did. No doubt with tales to tell the youngsters before their bedtime, inspiration for ungulate explorers of the future.