For those of us who live in urban environments, the variety of wildlife that can be found on any given day is somewhat limited. Smaller animals like squirrels, birds, and rabbits all survive and thrive in densely populated urban environments, but larger creatures who tend to require a little more space struggle to cope with the loss of habitat.
Despite the difficulties of living in an urban environment with minimal natural area, there are some large mammals that have managed to prosper. Deer are infamous in urban and suburban areas for eating flowers and other landscaped plants. In these settings they do not have to deal with the stresses of being hunted for as game like their more rural counterparts do, and have far fewer natural predators to avoid.
As I was walking through a small valley park in my city, I decided to wander off of the paved trail and up a steep hill. When I stopped to rest at the top of a section of the path, I looked to my left and noticed a peaceful doe resting in the vegetation. She was well aware of me before I saw her, but did not feel immediately threatened despite the fact that I was less than 20 feet away. I was able to snap a few pictures before I decided to let her be and continue exploring. The track of woods that she was living in is rather small, but vast enough to support at least a few deer...I saw a friend of the doe later during my hike.
The frequency of human encounters and the lack of harm that they have experienced at the hand of humans has caused these deer to seem quite tame. I am glad that they are able to find acceptable habitat in such a densely populated setting, and thankful that I was fortunate enough to have this great experience. The next time you see a deer eating your flowers or cutting through your back yard, see if you can figure out what nearby woodland they call home!