A black tailed doe with twin fawns showed up at my watering hole and introduced her kids to my yard. Its been fun watching them over the last three or four weeks grow from wobbly, trembling, skittish babies to confident munchers and jumpers.
They show up twice a day, in the morning and at dusk. I noticed them sleeping, nestled safely, in the talll grassy slope behind my outbuildings. Karen from her upstairs balcony has a better view of them and one day she mentioned how thin the mother was. Earlier in the month, her ribs were prominently showing. I told her it is never a good idea to feed wildlife. She picked some apples off my trees and placed them where they normally walk. “It’s no different than if they found them under the trees,” she claimed.
Mama’s fattened up considerably since then and looks quite healthy. She cruises confidently around the yard pruning everything and stands looking at us as she munches, strawberry plants, flowers from their pots and the fallen apples under the trees. My apples are close enough to pick from my deck. Now that all the good salad stuff is gone, she has shown them how to eat the tiny branches and leaves of my young trees, ignoring the native oaks, except to take a long leisurely nap in their shade. They soon graduated to bigger ornamentals. They ate all the lower parts of the honeysuckle and a big azalea. Enough is enough with the yard salad, Karen decided. She began chasing them away from the buffet. Now, they are more careful and keep a bit of distance. They munch on the native plants and take a quick turn around the yard. I had to fence my favorite Russian elm. We are none the worse for providing them with yard salad. Like goats, they prune, they don’t yank plants out of the pots. But, it is time for them to spend more time in their native habitat.
They are just so darn cute. Karen is already worried about hunting season coming up. These fawns were born late and will be vulnerable. But, nobody can hunt in the neighborhood and they seem to stick pretty close. We have to remind ourselves they are wildlife and just appreciate having a temporary window to watch them grow up.