Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fawn Outside Center

For the last two days, a young fawn has been parked outside the Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest.

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) does will leave their fawns in a hiding place for the first few weeks, but they have not abandoned the fawns.  Fawns are protected from predators by their spotted, brown coat, which is wonderful camouflage in the dappled sunlight of the forest floor.  Fawns are also without scent, so the doe limits contact with the fawn so not to give away the fawn's hiding place.  If you find a fawn, leave it be.  The doe is nearby and will return to the fawn, but your continued presence may keep her from the fawn or your scent may lead a predator to the vulnerable fawn.

Although a bobcat or coyote may take a young deer, most of the natural predators, like cougars and wolves, have been eliminated.  Currently, the largest threats to deer are human activities, dogs, and a variety of diseases.

So far, the only thing bothering the fawn outside our window is the incessant attacks of the yellow flies.

Images by Mark Musselman

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