As anyone in Hicksville knows, we have a variety of wildlife in our area. Wild bunnies forage on lawns for clover as they peer up at spectators with a wrinkle of their noses. Blue jays call through the early morning skies, while red-breasted robins can be seen searching for the early morning worms. Red-winged blackbirds, the newcomers for the season, warble high atop the pines, while pine siskins and house sparrows soar through the sunny skies. It’s something that I truly appreciate about our development. Even the opossums, who hiss from beneath the front hedges, are a welcome sight after a long and dreary winter. I’ve seen so many different forms of wildlife, including raccoons, and I have marveled at the sights. Frogs have returned to our area, while the latest transplant to our area, podarcis muralis (or common wall lizard), frolics beneath local rhododendron leaves and scurries across walkways everywhere.
Yes, folks, there are deer afoot in Levittown. My old stomping grounds have become home to a few resident deer, who have found their way from the nearby parkways to suburban front lawns. Just last week, a friend who lives off Jerusalem Avenue posted a picture on social media of a young doe who had been spotted in the backyard of a Levittown resident. The deer had been feeding on the tender leaves of her peony plant.
I remember heading out to my grandmother’s home in East Islip every weekend when I was a child. My father swore that deer lived in the woods near her home, as he and my uncles had seen does with fawns every summer. Try as I might, I never got to see anything that remotely resembled the graceful beast. I’d heard chipmunks in the woods across from her house, and I had even gotten a glimpse of a garter snake beneath a pile of decaying leaves. My cousins often told me that they’d seen foxes and raccoons on Nana’s property in the evening hours, but I was never able to steal even a passing glance. After Nana passed away, I visited her home one last time. As we left the street, I turned and noticed a large doe who stared back at my husband and I. Nana sent the message that deer were alive and well in Suffolk County. But Nassau?
Several years ago, my daughter and a friend were hiking up in Stillwell Preserve. When they returned, the look of excitement shone from her eyes as she told us that she’d seen a buck in the woods. I didn’t believe her until a year later, when my husband and I took a very long Sunday morning hike. We ended up getting lost on the Greenbelt Trail. As we looked up at the trailhead, we saw two does who stared back at us intently. My husband took a step forward, and they bolted off into the brush. That had been our only experience with deer in Nassau County. Until last week.
While these magnificent creatures are beautiful to behold, the traffic bears a problem in this matter. With the advent of those who have little regard for the rules of the road, it poses a risk to the wildlife as well as vehicles and occupants. As anyone who has ever run into a deer on a country road knows, the damage to a vehicle can be substantial or complete. There is also the health hazard of deer ticks, which can easily detach from an animal and find their way onto a human. Even if the deer rubs against brush, if a human follows unknowingly, ticks will sense the carbon dioxide emitted and will drop onto a person.
The best way to deal with the deer in Levittown (and now in the Bethpage area) is to have the proper authorities remove them and relocate them to an area where they can freely roam. Please don’t feed the deer, either, because once fed, they are less willing to leave. Although these creatures are “deer” to my heart, I would rather see them foraging in the forest, and not on my tomato plants.
Patty Servidio is a columnist, contributing writer and columnist with Anton Media Group. The views expressed by columnists are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.