Hi! My name is Ms. LeSage, and I am a 4th grade teacher at the Marymount School of New York. Join me as I discover the wildlife trails of the American West!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Deer beds?

Before I share my most recent and fascinating discovery with you, I will reveal the awaited answers to yesterday’s posting about the animal tracks. For those of you who commented and made guesses, you may have already learned the correct answers in my response to you. For those of you who didn't comment, the correct answers are as follows: track #1 was a coyote, track #2 was a bobcat, and track #3 was a Mule Deer. The coyote track was definitely the most challenging to identify, as the claw marks are not visible in the photo. The oval shape, however, is a good indicator of a coyote. The bobcat print is very clear, but many thought it was a bear because it appeared large. Next time I won’t zoom in so much, because it was not nearly as large as a bear print! Bear prints also differ slightly in shape. As for the deer tracks, the great distance between the tracks provides the best evidence that it was a deer. Mule Deer are amazing jumpers!

Now to get back to my exciting discovery- deer have beds to sleep in just like humans! They may not be soft, fluffy mattresses, but they are beds nonetheless.  I have stumbled upon three deer bedding areas since I've been hiking Red Butte Canyon, and I couldn’t resist jumping in one for a picture today! I even got deer fur on my coat!

As you can see clearly in the picture above on the right, deer create beds in the winter by making oval-shaped depressions in the snow. Although I'm concealing a great deal of the first deer bed, it is evident that both are not in open areas. Deer make their beds in sheltered places for protection from the weather and predators. In the three areas I discovered deer bedding, there were several beds spread out within a cluster of trees. Each deer had its own bed, as they prefer to have their own space when sleeping! The beds were also located on the mid-slope of the mountain, providing further protection from predators who typically hang out along the streams at the bottom.

Based on what you've learned so far about ungulates, do you think that deer sleep more in the winter or in the summer? Please feel free to comment on this blog with your answer, and I will respond with the correct answer and an explanation tomorrow.


At January 29, 2010 at 5:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. LeSage,
I never would have thought that deer have beds! As for your question,I think deer sleep more in the winter.
On the last riddle I gave you, you got the right answer! Here is another one: A horse is tied to 15 ft. rope and a bail of hay is 25 ft. away. Yet the horse is still able to eat the hay. How is this possible?
Emily IV-2

At January 29, 2010 at 7:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ms LeSage, I am here with Class VB and we are going to respond as a group. We took a vote and and we all think that deer sleep mostly in the winter. We all miss you very much and can't wait to Skype with you in less than an hour! Keep warm, Ms Z and Class VB

At January 29, 2010 at 7:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. LeSage--Class III A is truly enjoying your blog. The pictures are incredible! Enjoy the rest of your expedition.
Love from,
Class III-A

At January 29, 2010 at 10:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. LeSage,

We think that the deer sleep more in the winter for several reasons. We feel that there is a lack of food in the winter, so the deer sleep more to preserve their energy. We also think that perhaps the deer store up on food in the summer, and therefore need less food in the winter to survive. It must be tiring for the deer to walk through all of that deep, heavy snow. Are we correct?

Best wishes! See you Monday!
Class IV, Group 1

At January 29, 2010 at 11:15 AM , Anonymous Padraig Downey said...

That bed doesn't look so comfy! We have intrepidly followed your daily adventures with amazement and joy! You have been tracking the animals with GPS and technology, while we have been tracking you with your blogs and Skype!! Congratulations on doing such a GREAT job! The girls and the faculty have been inspired. Padraig

At January 29, 2010 at 2:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the interesting info on the deer beds and the great skype conversations. Enjoy your remaining time in Utah. We look forward to seeing you back in NYC! - Martha E

At January 29, 2010 at 5:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melanie IV-2

Hi Ms.LeSage
Its Mel. Hows the weather in Utah? We are so happy that you are coming back and we miss you so much! See you on Monday


At January 30, 2010 at 12:33 PM , Blogger Kelly LeSage said...

Dear V-B and 4-1,

You are both correct that deer sleep more in the winter. 4-1, were you in science class with Ms. Fischer-Daly when you posted your response? Your explanation was perfect; I couldn't have said it any better!

Can't wait to see you all!
Ms. L

At January 30, 2010 at 12:37 PM , Blogger Kelly LeSage said...

Dear Emily,

You are also correct that deer sleep more in the winter :-) You should check out group 4-1's response if you want to learn more about why, as their explanation is excellent. You've really got me stumped on today's riddle, so you'll have to help me out with the answer!

Can't wait to see you Monday!
Ms. L

At January 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM , Blogger Kelly LeSage said...

Dear 3-A,

Thank you so much for following my blog. I had a great time Skyping with all of you and was so impressed with your thoughtful questions. I look forward to seeing you in the Middle School next year :-)

Ms. L

At January 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM , Blogger Kelly LeSage said...

Dear Mr. Downey,

Thanks so much for your kind email. I knew the girls would be in great hands with you while I'm away. That deer bed definitely wasn't very cozy, but it was a lot of fun taking a picture in it! Thanks so much for taking care of 4A so well and for following my blog all week :-)

Ms. L

At January 30, 2010 at 12:44 PM , Blogger Kelly LeSage said...

Dear Ms. Erskine,

You are very welcome! Thank you for participating in my Skype sessions and for staying updated by reading and commenting on my blog daily. This has really been quite an adventure :-)

Ms. L

At January 30, 2010 at 12:47 PM , Blogger Kelly LeSage said...

Dear Mel,

Today's weather is about 34 degrees. While I'm really enjoying my time here, I miss you guys and can't wait to get back to see all of you either.



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