Deer & Ditches

Yesterday was about as normal as any other day, but it took an unexpected turn when my co-worker told me he’d found a fawn stuck in a drainage ditch across the street from our building. He didn’t think the little baby could get out, and it’s mother had just crossed the street over near our building. She was turning her head back and forth, wandering, like she wasn’t sure what to do.

I went outside with my co-worker to see what was going on and what we could possibly do to help. Sure enough, the little fawn had dropped down to the ditch and couldn’t get out. The ditch was a giant cement square, about 25’x25′, ascending from two to four feet deep, like a pool, and covered with dirt and leaves. The poor baby had probably dropped down into the ditch out of curiosity, then couldn’t get out. When it saw us, it came over towards us, but then started running in circles in the ditch, bleating loudly, most likely calling for its mother for help. I had the idea that if I could corral the fawn to one area, my co-worker could corner it and we could get it out of the ditch. I didn’t want to stay too long and scare mom away from ever showing up again.

When we first dropped down into the ditch, the fawn became visibly nervous, running toward the back of the ditch, slipping as she was obviously very new to walking. It continued to run quickly back and forth along the wall, but soon enough wore out. We slowly approached the fawn, and it dropped down to its haunches, worn out. My co-worker carefully picked it up and we brought it over to the other side of the ditch, where it was fenced for safety, and there were some shade trees and grass. The fawn laid down exactly as my co-worker put it down, its heart beating rapidly from the scare, and we backed away, in hopes that mama would come back to look for her baby.

About two hours, later, when my work day came to an end, I checked over at the space where we’d left the baby. It was no longer there, so I’m guessing/hoping mama came for baby. I’m no deer expert, but guessing from the time of year and size of the fawn, the baby is at the stage of its life where it stays put while mama forages for food and comes back to feed baby. My guess was that mom and baby were looking for a quiet place for baby to lay while mom went to get food, and they just happened to land in the ditch.

This all happened pretty quickly so I didn’t have my camera with me so I wasn’t able to take a snapshot of the fawn. Last year though, we had a fawn in front of our building, laying down, waiting for mom to come back from eating, so I do have a snapshot of that one, and they seem similar in size, so I’m guessing this fawn was in that stage of life, waiting for mom to return with fresh milk after foraging. One can only hope.

Fawn1

It was  great way to mix up the day. You never know when your assistance will be needed. Hopefully mama and baby are safe and sound, enjoying some breakfast about now.

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