Besides the fact that I was surprised (and very relieved) that they limited themselves to just licking the deer while fervently wagging their tails, I was more surprised to find the little guy (or gal) in my FENCED IN backyard at all. How did he get in? Well, considering he is an itty bitty, teeny weeny little thing and probably not more than a day old, he must have squeezed through the fence bars, which are probably only 4-5 inches apart.
Look at those long, skinny legs! Momma deer must have given birth to the little fawn in my front yard the day before, and thought that it seemed like a safe enough place to leave her babe while she went out foraging for food (I'm not so sure she still thinks that after this little guy's excitement with my puppies). It is not uncommon for momma deer to leave their young for a full day, returning at night when they feel it is safe to do so.
Apparently in the first week or so of a fawn's life, their danger instinct is less of the normal "flight" and more so "hide and stay very very still." This little one thought that my flower beds made a nice hiding place.
But something still gave him away...;-)
With the lack of the flight instinct yet, I was able to get very very close to the fawn. I guess this is why my dogs were even able to get close enough to lick him.
The fawn moved around into different garden beds throughout the day, and one or two times, I let my dogs out in the backyard to see if they could find him (since I didn't know if he was still out there, or if he had wandered back out through the fence). Atticus - the true hunter of my two standard poodles, was always able to find him for us. The fawn's extreme stillness defense worked for him in both cases because, after Atticus sniffed him out, he didn't ever actually find the baby deer, meaning, he didn't realize he found the deer because the fawn was so still that he wasn't noticed by my dog.
After getting a decent photo session in and enjoying the baby wildlife, my husband and I went about our Saturday social plans. When we returned later in the evening (after yet another downpour...do I really live in Texas? Feels more like Florida), we found the fawn moved to another garden bed again, this time enjoying a nice nap in the lavender (maybe he thought the pungent scent may throw off any predators?).
As it turns out, our little deer wasn't an only child. He had a little twin hanging out in my next door neighbor's yard! Double the cuteness!! I wondered why the babies weren't huddled together and later found out that momma deer will usually separate their young so that they have a greater chance of survival. Makes sense, but I don't like thinking that anything bad will happen to either of these little cuties.
I knew it was likely that the momma deer would come around late in the evening to collect her young, so I left my back gate open to make sure she could find her little twin that was hanging out in my back garden beds. Before heading to bed, I looked outside and saw momma deer nursing her baby in my backyard - what an awesome sight! I was so relieved that momma came back and found her little ones, as well as safely made their way out of my backyard...but not before nibbling on some of my strawberries and phlox!
This is my absolute favorite garden wildlife experience this year. Thanks to Tina over at My Gardener Says for hosting the Wildlife Wednesday meme on the first Wednesday of every month!