There are a lot of deer in our neck of the woods, using “neck of the woods” both literally and figuratively. I’ve heard that the county we live in has the densest population of white-tailed deer in the world, and we happen to live at the edge of a wooded nature preserve that serves as home to a large herd. Needless to say, said herd spends a lot of its time wandering around our neighborhood, eating all the plants. More often than not, the deer are a terrible burden, especially for those of us who are trying to grow fruit trees and vegetable gardens. Sometimes, though, the deer, in all their gentle serenity, are wondrous to behold. Yesterday they were especially wondrous, as Boomer looked out her window in the late morning and thought, “That’s a really big cat there next to the garage.”
Wait, no… That’s not a cat at all!
That’s right — a tiny baby fawn spent its day gladed in the ivy underneath a windowbox on our garage. It walked there itself around 11 a.m. and spent the entire afternoon and early evening curled up in that spot. Occasionally it would stand up to stretch its legs, reaching its full height of no more than 15 inches, and then it would just plop right back down in the same spot. It spent some time dozing, then would hear us in the house and lift its head, blinking its giant eyes drowsily, and it also spent a great deal of time alertly taking in the world around it, sniffing at the air and waggling its enormous ears.
We worried a bit that it had been abandoned, but a quick google search of baby deer assuaged or concerns, as it seems mother deer leave their fawns for hours while they go forage. We kept a weather eye on the woods at the edge of the yard, spotting the mother once in the early afternoon, but as the hours wore on and dusk approached, we started to fret again. Finally, just as we were starting to wonder what we were going to do if we came outside the next morning and found the fawn dead in the ivy bed, the mother appeared under our crabapple tree. She ambled around a bit, flicking her tail and nibbling some vines, then disappeared into the woods. About ten minutes later, with darkness nearly upon us, the fawn got to its feet and wobbled out across the yard. It sniffed at everything it passed, including a confusing interaction with a teak patio table we have at the back of the yard (we only half joked that it thought the table was its mother), but eventually teetered its spindly way to the edge of the woods and then POOF! It was gone.
Now, we’ve been lucky enough to see cute baby animals in our regular life, ranging from bunnies (just what you’d expect: fluffy and tiny) to javalinas (totally unexpected) to goslings (meh) to calves (whatever). Up until yesterday, we believed we’d never see anything cuter than the baby quails in Arizona, which looked like fluffy brown golf balls with little tufts on their foreheads. But you know what? This baby deer took the cake. It is officially the cutest baby animal we’ve ever seen in person.