A few weeks ago, Nick wrote a column on wildlife babies entitled "Oh, They're so cute." I was reminded of those words the other morning when I received a call concerning an orphaned deer fawn. "It is so cute," the woman said as she proceeded to tell me about a baby deer that was trapped in the egress window of their house. For those who may not know, egress windows are extra-large, jumbo-sized window wells.
When I arrived at my destination on the edge of Holland, I learned that the cute little fella had apparently been there for awhile. "I heard the noise yesterday but thought it was a bird or something making it," the woman told me.
How it got into this predicament, I don't know for sure. It was around on the front side of the house. And it had negotiated its way through a thick hedge that was planted in front of the house and window. However, just how or why Mother and Baby ended up there doesn't really matter. I asked the obvious question, "Have you seen a mother standing around nearby today?" There was no mother that I could see and with a couple of days having past, I decided that maybe it should go to a wildlife rehabber. For a few minutes I contemplated taking it to the nearby Pioneer Trail, but that was a ways away. The mother likely came from that direction. Even though the mother's instinct is very strong and there was a chance that she might reunite with it there, the longer that the fawn and mother had been separated, the greater the chance that the fawn would get up and go looking for Mom.
Shannon Williams gets ready to say goodbye to the fawn at the wildlife rehabilitation’s residence.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Williams
But if it went looking for Mom along the trail, I reasoned, I'll probably get a call from a trail user of this cute baby fawn found along the Pioneer Trail. So to save myself the chance of a second call for the same rescue, I chose to call the rehabber. My daughter, Shannon, who is one of the Seasonal Conservation Aides this summer had gone with me on the call and was the lucky one to hold the fawn on the trip to Cedar Falls.
Delivered safe and sound to its new mother, we both headed back to our respective tasks. Then, around about 3 PM I got a call. "There is a cute baby fawn standing along the road south of Grundy Center," the caller reported.
Now, two fawns in one day is not normal. In fact, I can't recall ever having two different fawn calls in one day before. This one was standing and then lying along the edge of the blacktop road. When I arrived, the person pointed to the fawn that was down on the grass foreslope of the road ditch. I snatched it up and out of its mouth came the inevitable bleats that fawns make when scared. Its those bleats that bring the does running whether it is a newborn or six months old.
"There's the doe right there," the fella said looking out into the field. She was about a hundred yards or so away and very interested in what was happening with the fawn. I quickly took the fawn on down into the road ditch and over to the field edge where I laid it down and hurried back to the truck.
The doe ran on over the hill and out of sight. I drove off just about as quickly. Apparently the fawn had stopped at the road and the mother had gone on into the field hoping the fawn would follow. Whatever the case, the fawn was now safely away from the road and the mother would return when she felt it was safe enough to retrieve her baby. Now that was the easiest kind of fawn rescue.
If you happen across a fawn this spring, first thing to do is take a look around. Standing one hundred, two hundred, or even more yards away is likely the doe. If its not trapped in a window well, leave it alone. The mother is in most cases not far away. Of course, if it is standing along the edge of the highway you can go ahead and move it to safer ground. Don't worry about touching it. Studies have shown that the motherly instinct far overrides her fear of your scent.