Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Rescue Me!" Is not what the fawn is saying!

Photos by Jonathan Schechter
May 21, 2012 
My meadow in Brandon Township, Michigan

I am a very lucky man. The wildlife that shares 'my' 11 acres has come to know my ways and trust me. But they remain cautious and that  is good. Wildlife needs to be wild.  
And that means fawns too.
I have slowly come to know the ways of the deer in my life.
 I will not enter the meadow behind my barn again for several months until the new fawn is moving with her mom in the rest of the woods and meadows and swamps that are home for them and a pleasure for me.
  Today the fawn was frisky, exploring the new world as mom stayed in the shadows.
My presence within the fenced area and my  human scent might dramatically change the dynamics. 
A passing coyote or dog would certainly detect my scent.
And that just could bring a quick end to this fawn.

Not all fawns in fawn tales have as much of a chance for survival as "my" fawn. 
Here is why:
All too often well meaning humans caught up in what many biologist call The Bambi Syndrome will  try to "rescue" a seemingly abandoned fawn.  After all, how could a caring human walk away from such a beautiful and curious creature with those big eyes? But the facts and the ways of nature indicate a fawn by itself is rarely abandoned. Michigan DNR wildlife ecologist Sherry MacKinnon remind us, "Even if a fawn appear to be abandoned, its mother is almost always nearby. MacKinnon goes on to explain, "It's not uncommon for does to leave their young unattended for up to eight hours at a time, an anti-predator strategy that minimizes scent left around the newborn animals."

Today I sat just outside the fenced section of meadow and watched the fawn frolic. The fawn ignored me for she has not been taught to be fearful, not yet.  And after her spontaneous romp of exploration she returned to her mother in the shadows at the very edge of the old fence and did what she does very well; she nursed.
And mom watched me, perhaps a bit torn in her emotions.
 She trusts my  outside of the fence presence, but as a protective mom, she watched my every move. 
(And should you wonder, I stayed back and used the telephoto lens). 
As I write these words well after dark I can only image the gentle beauty a few hundred feet from me: A  doe sheltering her fawn in the meadow under a beautiful sliver of a moon.  And I reflect on the timeless words of John Muir, 
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world"


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