What a coincidence that after almost 12 years, we finally saw a deer in our backyard, right on the weekend when we celebrated our 18th Wedding Anniversary. We thought the name "June" would be fitting for the mother. We were not sure the gender of the fawn, so we decided on the name "Heidi". We got married at St. Hedwig Catholic Church in Detroit. (My brother VL is a punster and would appreciate how we transformed "Hedwig" into "Heidi".) We considered Heidi a fitting name for the baby deer. If the fawn was a male, then Patrick would be the name as I was baptised at St. Patrick's Church a year after we got married.
I first spotted June on Friday evening, as I looked out the kitchen window. I was surprised to see her standing in the middle of our backyard. I called my husband who was on his way home from work. I could not contain my excitement, I also called Mom and my sister CH. I told my husband that the deer looked heavy and subdue. The next day, we found a fawn hiding in the brush outside our spare bedroom window. Our neighbors started to come over to see the baby. It was an exciting weekend for the neighborhood.
I tried calling a nearby Wildlife Center and was told not to do anything as the deer did not need any help from us human. Here is another example of the wonderful world wide web. I found out from many wildlife websites about deer and their fawns. I learned that female deer give birth from late May to early July. The peak of births occurs in mid-June. That did not stop us from feeling special that a baby deer was born right on our wedding anniversary. The doe usually has only one fawn at her first birth. Wow, Heidi is the first born, just like grandma.
The fawns learned to lay low in the grass and well camouflaged by the spots on their coats and nearly odorless to provide protection from enemies who use their sense of smell to locate prey. That was the reason Heidi laying low in the shrubs. As we tried to stay away and only watched from the kitchen windows, June was keeping watch on Heidi with both her ears standing straight. I learned that if June was not nearby, she did not abandon her baby. The mother stays away from her fawns to avoid attract undue attention to the babies.
By Saturday afternoon, June and Heidi became comfortable with us. We were able to move real close and my husband captured many precious moments using his Canon camera and a good zoom lense. One of the photos showed June gently nudged Heidi to get up when the baby fell down. CP also captured a few photos of June feeding Heidi or June cleaning Heidi. At one point, it looked as if June was trying to teach Heidi to jump over the fence. Heidi came close to the fence and from her bleating, it sounded as if she told her mother that she was not ready.
The most wonderful moment happened on Sunday morning as we again watched June and Heidi pacing in our backyard. All of the sudden, Heidi started runnung around the yard, easily maneuvered around the utility shed, a few sharp turns around the apple tree. There was no verbal communication, yet from the way June turned her head, we knew she offered encouragement to Heidi as the baby became stronger and tried to show that she was fast enough to keep up. And then both mother and daughter took off together towards the nearby park.
We waved goodbye to June and Heidi, our deer daughter and grand-daughter. We hope they will come back to visit, not only when they are hungry or need a place to stay.
(Saturday, June 16th - June came back in the morning for a few hours and CP thought June wanted to wish him a Happy Father's Day.)