Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Monday, May 21, 2007

Braveheart and Her Fawn

Braveheart, the White-tailed Deer with the crippled front leg, has a fawn. It is very small, with wobbly legs, and does not stand up long. When it beds down in the dry brown leaves against the trunk of a big fallen pine, it’s almost invisible.

When I stepped outside this morning, I saw the doe in our front yard, and she immediately began limping back toward me and the house, which was unusual. I sat down for a few minutes, and turned my attention to something else, then I saw her standing with the fawn, only a few yards away from our house, in the shade at the edge of the woods. The fawn took a few steps, but looked unsteady, then curled up beside the big trunk of the pine, deep in thick brown leaves, dappled by filtered sunlight. Its white spots and soft brown color blend in so well that it’s almost impossible to see, unless you see an ear move. Braveheart went back to browsing, making her way up the hill and pausing to munch on several lush green mouthfuls of my butterfly bush. Oh well.

We have far too many deer in the neighborhood, and I often feel annoyed because they eat so many of our flowers and shrubs. But it isn’t their fault their woodland habitat is being steadily destroyed by houses and subdivisions. Braveheart seems to have adopted our yard as her home territory, and I can’t help but feel sympathy and admiration for her, and hope she and her fawn will survive and live well.


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