Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Living in the wild

Okay, I wouldn't exactly call Kiawah Island "the wild," but it's pretty cool to see all the animals wandering around. Probably the main thing we've always enjoyed about Kiawah is how they have carefully developed the island so as to disturb the local wildlife as little as possible. We always have to visit the nature center at Night Heron to take a gander at what animals they have there, but we usually will see a few gators or deer each year. I'm still jealous that Jeffrey saw one of the turtles wandering back into the ocean on his very first visit to the island nine years ago. I've been coming here for fifteen years and still haven't seen one!

This year has taken the cake, though, at least for the deer. Here's what Mom and I saw first thing yesterday morning in our next door neighbor's yard as we headed to the store to get some eggs:

Speaking of eggs (what a segue), about a decade ago there were so many deer on Kiawah that they pioneered a novel program of birth control for them rather than open a hunting season or, I guess, wait for the cars to start picking them off. Rangers go around shooting hormone darts at the females to render them infertile for 2-4 years. Apparently they missed this one.

Later yesterday, Jeff and I took Aisie and Dylan for a bike ride. As we rode the bike path that runs along Kiawah Island Parkway, we first saw a couple of deer grazing a little bit off the path. We passed those, but around the next bend were three more. This time they were so close to the path that we stopped and waited. They were utterly unphased by our presence, at least as oblivious as deer at a petting zoo. Aislin was even able to reach out and nearly touch one. I think she probably could have ridden it if she'd been so inclined. Finally, as we rode back we saw a frighteningly thin buck staggering down the middle of the road toward the new resort hotel. Nothing like a deer safari to keep the kids from realizing that we're making them ride 10 miles.