Wildlife Wednesday: The garden that became a zoo…

Muntjac Deer, Oxfordshire

I always enjoy working on Baby Routes. Of course, it’s great to share the walks and days out with you all but I also love working from home and particularly because my desk (the kitchen table) overlooks our back-garden.

When I have remembered to keep the bird table topped up with fat balls, sunflower and niger seeds and all manner of other bird goodies, the birds alone keep me entertained for much of the day. The woodpecker visits promptly at 1115 most days and I have now grown to expect the daily visits of the now renamed Phileas (Phineas to previous readers) and Fogg (see, I couldn’t resist the rename when he brought his mate with him), the two comedy cock pheasants who prance around the garden and balance on the most unlikely of places, shouting their heads off as they go. I even keep an eye out for a flash of bright green just in case the exotic cockatiel decides to revisit.

Phileas & Fogg, Pheasants

Phileus & Fogg, balancing on the fence as you do…

The weekend however brought a new visitor to the expanding menagerie to be found out the back. I had a moment of disbelief when I thought one of our two cats had grown and then wondered if a neighbour’s small dog had got in our garden. Our visitor was neither of these but rather a soft eyed Muntjac deer exploring the bark of the shrubs along the back of the garden.

Living in rural Oxfordshire and located up on a hill with woods and and fields surrounding the village, we are used to deer roaming around. In fact, ‘spot the deer’ has become a favourite car journey game for the return journey from nursery for my daughter and she was gladly announcing our garden visitor at the top of her voice whilst hammering on the glass of the back-door whilst I was still working out what was going on! This is the first time we have had a deer in the garden though.

Muntjac deer in garden, Oxforshire

We’ve been spotted!

The Muntjac deer is not a native to the UK. Its exotic looks are a result of its origins in South Asia from where it was originally imported to populate managed deer parks in the UK. Escapees have since formed wild deer herds and these small brown deer are now common across England and with some reported to have established in Scotland.

Despite the welcome distraction our visiting deer brought the whole family, once it had shuffled off back into the lane behind the garden the gardener in me couldn’t help hoping it might keep to the nearby woods and fields in future. I am pretty sure our deer friend clocked the veggie patch and my prized apple trees and I am not keen to invest in bark protector!


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