Tuesday, June 21, 2011

surprise in the pasture...

Each June we anxiously wait to  see the first new mule deer fawns of the year. A couple of weeks ago the doe's bellies were wide, giving them a slowed down, awkward look and gait... now the does are slim again and we are starting to see the tiny new fawns.

The other day I looked out the back window and saw a doe nursing a new fawn out in the back pasture, partially hidden in the cover of the old elm trees down in the wide part of the gully. A bit later I was out by the gully, bringing Murphy and Tucker in from grazing, and as I walked them in, the doe, who was now over in the far corner of the gully was startled by us walking by and took off... bounding up and over the hill.

I knew her fawn must be close by someplace (when they are brand new the does seem to keep them hidden away most of the time, coming back frequently to nurse them) so after I took the big guys back to the barn I got the kids and we went back out to see if I could find the fawn.

At first I couldn't see anything... I looked around in the bushes bordering the area where I'd seen the doe, searching for any sign of a spotted fawn in among the leaves and grass growing underneath. I was so busy looking in the bushes I hardly looked down, and so was surprised to suddenly see a tiny fawn curled up in the sun dappled grass almost at my feet.

He was only a few hours old... too young for any fear of us... but I knew we needed to be careful and quick about admiring him... that if he cried, his mother would be back and we'd be in danger.

We didn't touch him, but were amazed at his tiny perfection. His huge deer eyes calmly watching us, never moving from his spot curled up in the grass.

I love watching the new fawns following their mothers on their impossibly tiny legs.

When they are very young their back legs look too long to match their front legs and as they walk they pick them up in exaggeratedly high steps. And last year's babies, the yearlings, are on their own more now and the little bucklings are growing their first nubs of antlers and seem to feel quite full of themselves.

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I love the gift of watching a doe guiding her new twins across the front pasture...

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Living here is such a blessing.

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