Piebald in the Park

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Photo of piebald deer in The Mariners’ Park. Photo courtesy Courtney Coates/ The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

The other day I was walking the Noland Trail as usual, and out of the corner of my eye I saw what appeared to be a dog off the leash! It is my duty as a Park Ranger to ensure that all canines and wild animals are safe within the Park, so naturally, I started to head that way. To my surprise, I realized that it was not a dog off the leash at all, but what appeared to be a white deer! After snapping some photos, I headed back to the office to dive into research.

Piebald deer v.s. albino deer

What I saw that day is known as a piebald deer. If you are a regular visitor to our Park, then you have probably seen plenty of whitetail deer. Our Park is  home to many. Piebald deer are whitetail deer with a genetic mutation. Piebald deer have varying amounts of white and brown hair, black hooves, and brown eyes and nose. This mutation is also sometimes called leucism. Leucism more broadly refers to abnormal deposition of pigments. Leucism may cause pale or muted colors, or the irregular coloration known as piebald.   Read more

Are You Shore You Want To Do That?

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Diagram of Wetland Ecosystems. Courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Have you ever taken a visit to Lions Bridge and wondered why there are “No Trespassing” signs stopping you from sun-bathing on that oh-so-tempting perfect little river beach? The short answer is to prevent shoreline erosion and protect wildlife. The long answer is below…

What is a wetland?

The Shoreline Area at Lions Bridge is a wetland, my favorite type of ecosystem. Wetlands are transitional ecosystems between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that flourish with life. Simply, a wetland is a habitat between a body of water and a piece of dry land. Each type of aquatic system correlates with a wetland system. For example, an estuarine wetland would be the transition between an estuary and land, while a riverine wetland corresponds to a wetland near a river. To qualify as a wetland, an area must meet certain criteria: presence of water at or near the surface, hydric soils, and vegetation adapted to wet conditions.    Read more