Thursday, July 01, 2010

Fawn in My Yard

I came home yesterday to find this fawn lying in my fenced-in backyard a couple of feet from the driveway. My backyard is enclosed by a fence. Adult deer can easily jump the fence. The fence is too high for this little guy to get over, so he must have been born recently in my backyard. It had been 3 days since anyone was at my house, so the mother deer must have considered my backyard a quiet enough place for the birth.

Fortunately, there was a recent discussion on the neighborhood email list describing what was happening after several others in the neighborhood had found fawns in their backyard and were wondering what to do. Thus, I knew right away what was happening as soon as I saw the fawn lying in the grass next to the fence.

The mother deer had gone off to forage and would return to check on the fawn and perhaps bring some food. This is normal behavior, especially if the fawn is too weak to move or keep up with the mother. Usually the mother would return and nudge the fawn and they would wander off together. The fawn could be left for days in one place with the mother returning periodically to check on the young and bring food. In my case, the fawn would not be able to leave because it could not get over the fence like its mother.

As I crept up to take the picture with a zoom lens, the fawn instinctively lay perfectly still. I had to watch it for a few minutes to figure out if it were still alive. It did not look like it was breathing, but it eventually blinked a couple of times. Playing dead must have been its only defense. I did not want to get too close and risk interfering with it.

Click to see larger picture

I opened the gate so the fawn would have an exit path, but I suspected it would not move until the mother returned. I went inside the house.

About an hour later, we were hit with a brief but heavy rainstorm. I walked into the living room and saw the mother deer in the middle of the backyard. She must have been returning to check on the fawn. Normally deer in the backyard don't pay attention to me when I am indoors, but this time she watched me like a hawk through the windows as I walked into the kitchen. The mother deer ran off in the opposite direction from the fawn a few minutes later. The fawn was still sitting in its place, without moving.

I sat down to watch a little TV. About an hour later, the fawn was no longer there. Presumably the mother deer had come back, and escorted the fawn out through the open gate. My house had been abandoned and quiet for a few days while I was in the hospital, but now there was more activity after I returned. Hopefully the mother deer had taken the fawn to a more secluded place to wait.

I think I recognize the mother deer. One day, a little over a month ago, I was home sick and noticed a deer sitting down in my back yard around 9:30am. Although I have had lots of deer in the yard, I have never seen one sit down for a while like that. Also, it is rare to see a deer in the daytime. Usually they are around at dusk and after dark. I think it might be the same one as the mother deer.

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1 comment:

  1. I really liked this post. Your backyard action is far superior to all the BBQs and pool parties in my neighborhood.


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