Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE our white-tailed deer.   Almost every year we have one or two new-borne fawns cached away on our property by their mother while she forages.  We always assume, with no real proof, that it’s because they know that we offer a “safe haven” for them to grow up in. 

Recently, I came across an article discussing the role of stress hormones’ (cortisol) impact on the survival of fawns.   The study, conducted by Penn State’s Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in the College of Agricultural Sciences, suggests that predation (the preying of one animal on another) may not be the only threat to a fawn’s mortality.   High levels of cortisol in the fawn, when predators are less likely to pose a danger, suggest that other factors are impacting them.

The results were published in the November 9, 2020, issue of the Integrative Zoology journal.

A link to the Penn State overview is available here:

  #deer @agsciences #mammal


In other news, a 2-year study lead by a University of Oregon research team in Antarctica revealed that Weddell seals produce 9 distinct vocalizations that are beyond the range of human hearing.   These are in addition to 34 calls in the sonic range that had been previously identified.  

More research needs to be done to understand the purpose of these ultra-sonic sounds.  Understanding animal communications can also give insight into other behaviors and patterns.  Echolocation may be one possible application for these sounds.   

Details of the study have been published online on December 18th, at the site of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

If you don’t have access to the article, here is an overview of the work from the University of Oregon research team:

This site has a link to a wonderful video about the work of the McMurdo Oceanographic Observatory.  The seal soundtrack alone is impressive!

@uoregon #Antarctica #mammal

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