Sometimes there is more to a story than just a few pictures, so I moved my commentary from the “Happenings” page to a regular blog to tell the tale of a castaway…
Just a few days after Mother’s Day this year we found out we were deer parents once again. We were sitting out on our deck finishing up our morning coffee when twin fawns were spotted all wobbly-legged in the backyard ivy the very morning they were born. This is the fourth year that we have had new fawns born in the backyard (or the yards of our uphill or downhill neighbors). Mom had been hanging pretty close by (seriously, edge-of-the-deck close) – to the frustration of Benji, who now keeps his distance. You may recall two years ago he was pretty badly damaged by a doe who stomped him and flipped him while we watched and yelled. We really can’t figure which of the several deer who frequent the backyard had these twins, the original mom or one of the daughters, but you have to admit the youngsters are cute.
Only a few days later we had a pretty awesome thunderstorm, with cold rain pelting the ground and thunder booming all around. It turned quite cool the next few days, which was the start of our Len Foote Hike Inn anniversary trek. We came back home from that adventure and wondered about the backyard “zoo.” So far as we could tell, there was nothing moving next door, so we assumed the twins had gone off with their mother. We were busy getting the deck and backyard ready for our Retirement+1 Party anyway, so we were thinking about mosquitoes more than deer. But, the morning after the party we noticed that we had a single fawn in our backyard. The fawn got to enjoy the music and fun during the whole party without anyone realizing.
We now have to keep the peace between mom and Benji when they are all in the yard together. She stops by mid-morning and in the evening, silently walking through the yard to meet up with junior. If Benji happens to be in the vicinity, she definitely makes a beeline for him.
In the second week after the twins were first born next door, we saw a doe walk through our yard, hop the fence and wander down to where she was greeted by the fawn – the one in the downhill yard. Since he nursed alone and then scampered all around like a little rabbit, we assumed that he (or she) was the sole survivor. The stormy night and cooler temperatures must have been too much for the sibling. Our little backyard guy met up with his mom on other mornings when she would stop by to nurse and then leave him to hunker down in the ivy along the fence. You see, we have a four foot wire fence that separates the yards. It is no problem for the adult deer to hop over, but it keeps the little guys in place.
Our little castaway sits in the ivy all day, quietly waiting for mom to return. When she does come into the yard he runs over to meet her and eagerly nurses. We see both fawns, but we haven’t actually seen both does at the same time… hmmm. Just as we are trying to puzzle out the situation over breakfast on the deck, the doe walks through the yard, hops the fence and is greeted by the downhill fawn. Then they wander up to the fence line toward our castaway. Everyone just meets up at the fence. So mom and fawn #1 are on the downhill side and fawn #2 is on the uphill side in our yard. Mom jumps over and our little guy follows along and they hang out for a while.
You can view the fence line reunion video here: https://youtu.be/8FxkvVopaj8
About now we are getting the feeling that these are the twins, somehow separated by fence. How that happened is a mystery, but suddenly mom jumps back to fawn #1 on the downhill side and then sprints across that yard and stops. Fawn #2 runs along the fence trying to jump it. Clearly mom told him to get a running start and go for it. Wasn’t working.
I went around front and opened the side gate to give the guy (or gal) a chance to join mom. Not working, as the little one was running along the fence with no success. So Doug ambled around the back yard to guide him toward the gate and herd him along. Panic sets in, he gets frantic and leaps at the fence repeatedly while mom watches nearby. She stomps, he stops and there is a moment when we all seem to be thinking “any ideas?”
I moved closer down the fence line, he keeps banging along the fence, but as he moves toward me I simply press him down and calmly lift him up and over the fence. Zaaap! He sprints to the ivy and mom chases after. We think it is all a good family reunion now and the mystery of the twins solved. The day after, our neighbors spotted them together in the yard, so all must be well. Quite the tale of a castaway.
Oh, and the wrens who nested in a box next to the deck have been very busy keeping four noisy kids fed. What a Mother’s Day for critters it has been.