‘Meeting of the Minds’ talk about Piebald Deer

“Meeting of the Minds” - Piebald Deer’ at Orcas Senior Center

Submitted by the Orcas Senior Center.

In this second season of the “Meeting of the Minds” lecture series at the Orcas Senior Center we join in partnership with Friends of Moran to offer a series of presentations about the natural wonders of our Island home.

On Nov. 20 at 1 p.m., Joe Springer will present a lecture and images about Piebald Deer at Orcas Senior Center.

Piebaldism is a relatively rare genetic disorder affecting about two percent of the deer population. It is a genetic combination in black-tailed deer that can include a range of effects. Contrary to popular belief, a piebald deer is not a cross between a normal whitetail deer and an albino. The origin of the word, “piebald,” comes from “pie,” meaning “mixed up” and “bald,” meaning “having a white spot.” Piebald have various amounts of white and brown patches like a pinto pony.

The most obvious trait of the piebald is a coat coloration, but there can be skeletal alignment problems, from mild to severe. Some of the same genes that code for coat color also code for skeletal traits which can be crippling. The occurrence of piebaldism in the black-tailed deer of Moran State Park is considerably higher than in other parts of the black-tailed deer’s range. We will explore possible reasons why.

Join us for this free presentation and upcoming presentations with Friends of the Moran including, The Stone Tower on Dec. 18, Bats on Jan. 15, and Newts on Feb. 19.