Friday, July 19, 2013

My Doe Visitor

It's not uncommon for me to see deer near my home since I live in the woods and feed them during the winter.  On June 11, this doe started hanging around, just outside my fenced backyard.  I could even be in the yard with my Golden Retriever Oakley and the doe would walk along beside me.  She didn't bolt as deer typically do when I'm out with my dog.  On several occasions, she even lay in the soft grass outside my study window.  This behavior continued for several days; I knew it was the same doe because she had a hairless patch of skin on her left shoulder.  I had to wonder if she was okay.      

I don't know why she chose my land, perhaps because I'd fed her there over the winter, but on June 30, my doe appeared again, but this time with her new fawn.  I watched in awe as the fawn nursed, feeling somehow a part of this moment.  It's hard not to become attached to the deer that come to my land.  I learn to recognize the regulars as "individuals."  One will have a heavy mane that looks like bangs, another a dark coat. Two years ago, when I first started feeding critters in the winter, I was visited by another doe and her yearling.  I took hundreds of pictures of them in the snow.  My brother, also a photographer, teased me by asking when I was going to buy a leash for it.

Imagine my surprise, and delight, when a second twin fawn appeared on July 8!  I'd put out a food block (not a salt lick) for the deer, partly for nutrition for them, and partly for selfish reasons to keep them around.  I could see one fawn, which I presumed was the new one, was smaller than the other.  Both fawns bore the signature long legs and big ears.  The doe continues to frequent my food block a couple times a day.  Sometimes she brings her fawns, but often she comes alone.  I imagine nursing two fawns requires enormous energy.  The squirrel seems to be enjoying the food block too.

Here in Northport, and across much of the country, we've just been through a near record-breaking heat wave, which has not been conducive to typical summer outdoor activity.  I've spent more time indoors in the air conditioning than I care to admit.  I've wondered what the critters do to survive such hot weather.  Apparently, some have the right idea.  My doe returned to my land, this time without her fawns, and promptly found the coolest spot, tucked under the shade of hemlock boughs.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Karen. I love the pictures. Did she really reappear just recently?
    When the fancy strikes you attempt a collage, please No hurry,\.
    Yes we got a little respite from the heat.