White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk

White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk
These rare white deer twins were born this summer and have found a safe home at Dan Daniel Park and on the Riverwalk
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My name is David Hoffman. I teach English and journalism at Averett University, but I have two side interests - writing and photography. I also enjoy walking daily with my English setter, Sadie, and my wife, Elizabeth, on the Danville, Virginia, Riverwalk. As a novice to studying nature, I am fascinated by the slightest facets of the great outdoors, but most of my pictures are of birds - I don't know a lot about them, but I am learning more and enjoying taking pictures of them daily. I also take pictures of plants, other animals, and insects. All pictures posted for each day were taken on the day of my blog entry.

Leave a comment if you have the time or e-mail me at dhoffman@averett.edu


Thursday, June 17, 2010


(JUNE 17, 2010) This morning a walker stopped and asked me if I ever get tired walking on the Riverwalk with Sadie. I told her, "No. I get a great deal of enjoyment coming out each day and seeing what nature provides."

We see some of the same people each morning, walking, jogging, riding bikes, but two ladies are there doing a service for the wildlife. These two women carry bags of bread crumbs to feed the ducks and geese each morning.

As Sadie and I approach the bridge that goes over to the train station, there are always dozens of geese and ducks gathered there, and when they see Sadie, they tend to walk towards the river or start their hissing action while lowering their heads as if to charge. We always take a wide circle so we don't disturb them too much.

When other people approach, without dogs, the birds come near hoping that the person may disperse food. I have seen some children feeding the geese, and when they are out of crumbs, the geese get angry and fuss at the children who run to their parents in fear.

But, the ducks and geese seem to wait for the two bread ladies. When they are approaching, a call goes up, and a number of geese and mallards fly in to take part in this feeding ritual along with those that had already gathered. While walking towards the feeding table, the women are approached by dozens of ducks and geese that are eager to sample what the ladies have in their bags. As they get closer, the noise the birds make is almost deafening as they trumpet their approval of what is going to happen. Once the bread is dispersed, there is a feeding frenzy as the adults compete with the young for the many morsels of bread dumped onto the ground. There is some fussing and elbowing (if geese can "elbow") as the birds eat up every last crumb.

The women see Sadie each morning, and they approach her to give her some affection and, often, a piece of bread. They don't seem to mind that Sadie has dirty paws from the walk, and one woman even had a broken arm a few months ago, but doesn't shy away from Sadie's overly active lunges toward her.

This morning I saw the ladies as they were getting ready to feed the masses of ducks and geese gathered. I said, "I guess you are the ducks and geese best friends. I know they appreciate your daily feedings."

One woman said, "They may enjoy the bread crumbs, but we get a lot out of this too. We enjoy getting out here every day."

A symbiotic relationship - the geese enjoy the bread crumbs and the women enjoy feeding the crumbs to the birds. It is a simple thing, but something very important to the the birds and the ladies.

It was another good day on the Riverwalk.

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