favourite moments # 5 – white-tailed fawn

This is a post in a series about favourite moments of nature observation that have occurred over the past couple or so years. It’ll help to pass the time spent indoors this winter as I wait to be back out observing insects, spiders, frogs and others.

This photo of a White-tailed Deer fawn (Odocoileus virginianus) was taken at Foley Mountain Conservation Area on June 5, 2004. Don, Sabrina and I were hiking one of the trails that curves back through the forest after passing by a beaver pond. We came to a small opening in the tree canopy — a spot where the mossy earth was bathed in soft, filtered sunlight. We almost missed seeing this fawn curled up right beside the footpath — it was less than an arm’s length from the middle of the path. Even Sabrina walked right up before seeing it at the last possible moment. Fortunately, she’s a very quiet dog, so she didn’t attempt to disturb it in any way. I paused for a moment to snap a quick shot and then moved on. The fawn’s eyes were actually open and it flicked its ears a couple of times, probably to shake off some bothersome mosquitoes. I expect it realized we were around, but didn’t move. We encountered the mother just a couple of hundred feet away. She seemed unconcerned as she browsed on some low growing bushes beside the path.

The deer around Foley Mountain tend to be rather laid back, or at least, we find them that way. We often see them watching us from their resting spots atop a couple of low hills in the forest, or peering out at us from he shelter of a thicket. We’ve come upon fawns slowly wandering along trails, and one that boldly tracked us for some distance at what it probably considered to be a “safe distance” in the shelter of the forest. I suppose that human activity along the hiking and cross-country ski trails has made the Foley Mountain deer less wary than those that we see here at the farm.

Tags: ,

  • Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Trackback URI:
  • Comments RSS 2.0

6 Responses to “favourite moments # 5 – white-tailed fawn”

  1. robin andrea Says:

    That picture is truly cute beyond words. Quintessential innocence, all curled up like that. Great shot.

  2. Cathy Says:

    Yes, innocence and vulnerablity – my maternal instincts went into over-drive last spring in the marsh where I bird. The fawn could only have been days old and the photographers with their huge tripods and lenses were hovering around it. I understood their enthusiasm, but still . . . .

  3. LauraH Says:

    Lovely photo.

  4. burning silo Says:

    robin – Yes, cute and innocent. Also very small. It’s kind of surprising how small a fawn looks when it’s curled up with its legs neatly folded. They look almost too small to be real.

    Cathy – Yes, I don’t like to put pressure on wildlife just to get photos either. I wouldn’t normally even approach a fawn to get a photo, but click a quick shot in this case as we had practically stumbled over this little one (quite literally — lucky we didn’t step on it!).

    Laura – Thanks!

  5. LauraH Says:

    I saw a photo once of a fawn curled up and sleeping on a path that was covered with fallen apple blossoms. It was amazing to *see* how the dappled fawn *disappeared* among the litter of the tree. I wondered wether its mother left it there to make use of the natural camouflage or if it was just a happy coincidence.

  6. burning silo Says:

    Laura – A good topic for consideration. Fawns definitely do disappear when lying in dappled sunlight or among certain kinds of plants. I too wondeer how much of that would be instinct, or observation on the part of the mother. In the case of a patch of dappled sunlight, I’m guessing that the camouflage effect may be a happy coincidence of finding a comfortably warm spot to sleep.