In the fall of 2007‚ the oak trees in southern New Hampshire produced unusually tiny acorns. The trees were starving their predators--squirrels and deer. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas worried about the deer around her farmhouse‚ and began leaving food in small piles. Soon‚ she had over 50 deer coming to her fields‚ and her naturalist's eye was riveted. How did they know when to come‚ all together‚ and why did they sometimes cooperate‚ sometimes compete?
Thoughout the next 12 months she observed a host of deer families as they fought through a rough winter‚ bred fawns in the spring‚ fended off coyotes‚ a bobcat‚ a bear‚ and plenty of hunters‚ and made it to the next fall when the acorns were back to normal. As she hiked through her woods‚ spotted tree rubbings‚ deer beds‚ and deer fields‚ she discovered a vast world of social life.
Just as with her beloved books: The Hidden Life of Dogs and Tribe of Tiger‚ Thomas observes animals in natural settings and discovers a network of rules that have allowed earth's species to coexist for millions of years. Most of us have lost touch with these rules‚ yet they are a deep part of us‚ too‚ from our ancient evolutionary past. The Hidden Life of Deer is a narrative masterpiece and a naturalist's delight.