Spring has sprung here in the Eastern Deciduous forest. Hardwood trees have leafed out in incredible green hues, wildflowers have bloomed, and new life has returned to the woods. That includes one of our most recognizable forest residents, the whitetail deer.
During late May and early June, Whitetail does begin giving birth to their fawns. Seven months removed from the fall rut (mating season), mother deer are returning to their birthing spots to begin a new generation. Most does will return to the same spot they have given birth before. Their behavior will change in that they will begin driving away other deer and remain solitary until well after birth. This isolation from other deer is critical, allowing the mother doe to “imprint” on her offspring. Sometimes this process may only take a few hours, but it can also take days.
So, as visitors relish the beautiful spring weather and explore our trails and creek in The Parklands, we encourage everyone that sees a fawn to view it safely from a distance. Often times the mother will leave her fawn in tall grass so that she may go and seek food as the birthing process can drain her of much needed nutrition. The white spots on a fawn help it blend in with tall grasses and flowers found in meadows keeping it safe from predators like coyotes. If you see a fawn that looks like it has been abandoned, it has not. Mom has just stepped away to grab a bite to eat.
Never approach or touch a fawn because this can derail the very delicate imprinting process, which enables the doe to identify her baby and vice versa. If you think a fawn is injured, still do not approach or touch it. For more information on injured or orphaned wildlife please visit the links below.
About the Author
As Director of Education, Curtis Carman oversees The Parklands Outdoor Classroom, promoting STEAM-based education through engaging, hands-on learning both outdoors and inside the classroom. Each year, his team of Education Specialists, Interpretive Rangers and Camp Counselors guide nearly 20,000 participants of all ages through school field trips, camps, Parklands Explorer, Junior Explorer and Wednesday Wonders. Prior to his promotion to Education Director in May of 2018, Curtis first joined The Parklands team as an Interpretive Ranger and led the department as Education Coordinator for three years. A native of Louisville and a graduate of Ballard High School, Curtis returned to his hometown after having worked as an environmental educator in Maine and Colorado at Acadia and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Curtis also served as Membership Manager at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. Curtis enjoys hiking, biking, camping and kayaking.