July 12, 2020
The doe crosses our lawn in the middle of the hot afternoon. Her fawn rushes ahead of her, turning the corner around the fence, suddenly out of view. She stops and waits, staring toward a place we can’t see, then bends her head to the grass. In a minute the little deer, his coat a blanket of dots, prances back into the yard. His mother turns and walks toward the cove, the fawn following as he looks across the street and around the yard. As the doe crosses the street, she lifts her hind right leg off the ground in a half-limp, but walks on as if this is normal. I always wonder when I see a deer limp. Is it simply hoof soreness from a sudden dash out of harm’s way on hard pavement? Will it be gone in a few hours or tomorrow?
On the other side of the cove the doe folds her legs under her, collapsing in tall grass under an oak. Her fawn bounces after her, curling up beside her in the shade. She chews contentedly as the two escape the afternoon heat. It isn’t long before the curious fawn is up and nosing through bushes and weaving between yards. Everything is new in his world!
As the temperature rises to serious summer heat, more deer and other wildlife search for a reliable source of water. By early evening the bucks gather in our yard to graze and drink from the birdbath and urn – and even the water bowl we leave out for neighborhood dogs passing by. More does are walking through the neighborhood during the day with their fawns and I’m trying to recognize them by some distinctive physical feature. It’s not easy. Luckily, this doe has a half-moon shaped notch on her right ear. The fawn will be more difficult to spot as he matures, but hopefully there will be some recognizable mark so we can watch him as he grows up.