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White-tailed Deer Giving Birth

deer and fawn alert _H6A8525 copy (002)White-tailed does give birth at the end of May and the beginning of June. A doe giving birth for the first time usually has one fawn; in subsequent years, two or three fawns are common. For the first three or four days after it is born, a fawn is odorless and is well camouflaged thanks to its spotted coat.

During this time the mother leaves her offspring (who remain motionless during her absence) and goes off to feed. (It can be three weeks or so before the fawns follow their mother when she feeds.) The doe stays away as much as possible from her fawns during these first days and weeks to prevent her own body scent from giving away their location. She returns to nurse her young eight to ten times in a twenty-four-hour period.

People discovering what looks to them like an abandoned fawn should know that although the doe may not be in sight, she most likely is within hearing distance and is probably watching them. The fawn has not been abandoned and should not be disturbed. (Thanks to Erin Donahue, who took this photograph.)

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8 responses

  1. Luke Fabbri

    Hi Mary

    This weekend I was tending my bees and I checked into an empty Nuc box. I saw what I thought was a mouse nest. I was going to get rid of it and when I touched it it started buzzing. Turns out it is a bumble bee nest. I have never seen this before and wanted to share. in the second picture you can see a bee ‘s head just poking through. They have collected this downy material and some of my chicken’s feathers. The entrance to the Nuc box is partly sealed with this material. The nest was so light and fluffy. I openned it gently and you can see the comb in it.

    Luke A. Fabbri

    Geological Field Services, Inc. 14 Hubon Street Salem, MA 01970 Tel: 978 594-1376


    June 11, 2018 at 9:11 am

    • What a great find, Luke. WordPress doesn’t publish your photos and I would love to see them. If you wouldn’t mind, I would love it if you could send them to me at my email address, Thanks so much. I’ve seen bumblebee nests in bluebird houses – fascinating!

      June 11, 2018 at 9:36 am

    • Alice Pratt

      Luke….what a discovery! So interesting! Your Honey bees didn’t object (& try to get rid of) the ‘strangers?’ We recently acquired/started 2 hives & my son in law & my daughter have had many hives & are quite knowledgeable & even taught classes…if you’d like to send photos to my email, we would all be interested in seeing them. The Honeys are so awesome to watch….they have a paradise here….step out their frontdoor & can go nectaring…Thank you! ~Alice Pratt…Hanover, MA…

      June 11, 2018 at 3:07 pm

  2. Dan Poor

    Two days ago, a very young fawn wandered out of some tall grass and onto our lawn while we were eating lunch on our porch. No sign of Mom anywhere near by. Fawn slowly wandered up the hill, nibbling at the grass from time to time and eventually jumped into the tall grass at the top of the hill. Wish I’d had my camera ready. Last night a dinner a doe wandered through the tall grass in the pasture. We could see her clearly as she entered the woods – no fawn anywhere in sight.

    June 11, 2018 at 9:29 am

  3. Your post was very timely, Mary. A friend posted on Facebook that she found a fawn alone in the woods behind her house as was afraid it was abandoned. I sent her a link to your article.

    June 11, 2018 at 10:37 am

  4. Dorothy Fairweather

    Thank you for your lovely photo of doe & fawn. Very sweet.

    Best, Dorothy

    June 11, 2018 at 2:57 pm

  5. Pingback: On the Value of Floating Garbage – AgathaO

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