White-tailed deer are ubiquitous where I live, like pigeons in Manhattan. It’s easy to get so accustomed to them that you don’t notice them, other than when they are eating the landscaping or jumping in front of the car.
But then comes fawn season….
It’s all about the legs, baby.
A friend of mine calls these brand new fawns “poodle-sized”- it’s true, they are very tiny.
And remember, folks, if you find a fawn (or any other infant animal) by itself in the woods or the weeds: unless it is obviously badly injured or sick, LEAVE IT ALONE. Hundreds of fawns are separated from their grazing mothers by well-meaning humans every season. And if you find a fawn, don’t wait around for mom to come back, either. Don’t touch anything, just back away and let the little baby be, because the mom is likely nearby.
A recent study conducted by Texas rehabilitator Ann Connell found that, in some years, 40% or more of the deer fawns referred to her were not orphans or injured, but “kidnapped” from their mothers. Typically these incidents were well-meaning but misguided attempts to “save” seemingly abandoned fawns. Anecdotal data suggest that the situation for baby birds is similar or worse. These data indicate that such unnecessary referrals to rehabilitators are not only detrimental to the wildlife, but also disruptive and costly to wildlife rehabilitators during the time of year when they most need to concentrate limited resources on truly orphaned or injured wildlife.