Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2, 2015 - A Curious Fawn

On June 14 I noted that someone had seen a fawn on the edges of Lake Wicwas, and I have been hoping to find it ever since.  This morning, I would have to say, it found me.

I was walking up a trail about 100 feet from the lake when I saw a brown form through the trees just around a bend in the trail.  I froze, and to my surprise, after a quick pause, a young deer began walking right towards me.

It was clearly cautious, and uncertain as to what it was looking at, but it had not yet been habituated to turn and run at the sight of large foreign object.  (When it was a new born, it did know to lie perfectly motionless when it detected another animal.)  Instead, it walked slowly towards me until it was perhaps 40 feet away,

and then walked off the trail to take a detour around me, as it I was blocking its path.

Just prior to seeing the fawn I had heard a sound in the woods that I thought was a deer, but I couldn't see it - it was walking off deeper into the woods, so I continued on my way.  I expect that was the doe, and the fawn knew its mother was behind me and wanted to get to the safety of mother.  I have no doubt that mom was close by in the woods watching the whole scene unfold, and I wouldn't want to be in junior's hooves when it gets back to mom.  I expect Bambi will get a good scolding when they reunite.

Just as Bambi was right next to me, she (I have no idea whether it's a girl or a boy) decided she didn't want to go by after all, turned around, and headed back up the path in the direction from which she came.

She took several good long looks back over her shoulder at me before finally walking off in the woods.  I continued on my way, knowing that mom and fawn would soon be together.

This video clip shows just how unconcerned she was.

The fawn at this point is six to seven weeks old and its spots are still clearly visible, but they are starting to fade. All told, the encounter lasted for six minutes - six minutes of total stress for mother deer I'm sure!

Many of the young animals around Lake Wicwas are starting to venture out farther from their parents, learning to forage or hunt for themselves, and like all adolescents, they are proficient at giving their parents gray hair.  If you were at the Lake Wicwas Association annual meeting this past Saturday, you heard Marge Thorpe recount a story about the loon chicks diving under the water when the parents were down fishing.  When the parents came up and saw their chicks gone, they gave the most awful sound Marge had ever heard a loon produce.  When the chicks popped back up on the surface, mom, though relieved, went and gave them quite the scolding - while dad just shook his head.

But soon, all the Wicwas parents - loons, deer, scarlet tangers, osprey - they will all watch their young grow up quickly and learn to fly off and fend for themselves.

If you missed the annual Lake Wicwas Association meeting, the presentation "The Loons of Wicwas" can be seen by clicking here, and the minutes of the meeting will be posted on the LWA website in a few days.  Until then, keep your eye out for Bambi !

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