Yesterday morning we awoke to see a doe grazing the meadow below the house. Nothing unusual there. As the sun rose higher and she needed to chew her cud, she moved to the shade of a pine tree on the east edge of the open area. While she was there, we saw a brief movement in the tall grass about fifty yards from her, a dark form which was there for only a second only to disappear. Having seen a doe with a fawn Tuesday morning, we wondered if we might see some similar activity, so I grabbed a seat at an upper level window, camera in hand.
The wait was short. The doe finished her job and stood to stretch and groom a bit, still in the shade.
From my advantage of height, I picked up on movement on the west side of the meadow, a young buck seemingly moving with a sense of purpose. This was the last shot I took before the doe spotted him.
Then things begin to get interesting! The doe saw the intruder.
She began a slow, cautious walk in the direction of the buck.
Remember the fast-appearing-disappearing form? It sprang from the tall grass as the doe passed - in hot pursuit of her.
So Mom and her fawn continued a slow trek toward the buck. Watch her ears.
Ears in a more concerned position!
Greeting time! The buck and the fawn showed some mutual interest, but Mom was having none of it.
Time for Mr. Deer to go. After rising on her back legs and forcefully pawing his rump - I missed that shot- he decided that his presence was not warranted.
The farewell stand-off!
With Mr. Deer out of the picture, the little one needed some refreshment for having hidden in the unshaded grass for at least an hour and a half.
As expected, the doe and fawn headed toward cover in the timber on the west side of the meadow.
At this point, I thought that the show was over and began to load these images onto my computer. Wrong! Peggy saw the next two events which went unrecorded. Mom and her little one emerged from the timber and trotted across the meadow to the east side rocks and trees. THEN the big surprise! A SECOND fawn emerged and, on a dead run, sped across the meadow to the doe and the first fawn. The doe had stashed her fawns in separate locations while she grazed and chewed her cud. Think about that for a moment! How do they communicate these decisions and actions?
Anyway, the doe decided to move on to another site and the three of them quickly headed off in a southeasterly direction.
Cute? Yes, but dramatic too. This was a demonstration of survival behavior. The mother deer needed time to get her nutrition, and the fawns knew that they must remain out of sight until she was ready for them again. And out of sight they were, one being in grass in the middle of the open meadow and the other at least fifty yards away in the timber.
They were born into a beautiful but cruel and indifferent world, and I wish them luck amongst coyotes and careless humans in cars!
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