Who Is That Napping Under the Green Ferns?

My husband and I were hiking at the former Dry Hollow property on this day, and we stumbled upon this sweet spotty baby, which I have to admit is officially the tiniest fawn I have ever seen!

When we first arrived, we headed out into an open meadow area with trees. In the distance, we saw an adult white-tailed deer that we had spooked. I did not think anything of it at the time, but the trail she came out of is the one we ended up on and where we saw the fawn, so she may have been this baby's Mama.

The mosquitoes were very bad, and we had to fend them off in the woods via hand-to-hand combat. This is how we ended up spending much of our time there in the clearing instead: it was breezy there, which kept most of the mosquitoes away. (For those of you worried about wild creatures eating you in the woods, you are 100% correct, but the things that will eat you alive are typically INSECTS. Plan accordingly!)

And when we were done with our little visit, we were ready to walk up through the woods, and back out. So we followed the trail the deer had come out on. My husband, ahead of me, walked right past the baby, whose dappled coat somehow made it blend in better.

But I, who watch my feet, always looking for neat little things to see and photograph, saw this sweet baby instantly. It was tucked under some green ferns by the side of the trail. It was no bigger than a large house cat!

According to an online source, fawns average about 6 to 8 pounds at birth, and will weigh about 60-70 pounds by their first winter. Does nurse their fawns about 4 times a day as newborns and will continue nursing for about 4 months.

I very quietly called my husband back to see it. "Honey, come here. You'll want to see this." "What?" he asked. "Just come here," I said quietly, with a sappy and bemused look on my face. And he walked back, and we looked at this sweet baby, which was unmoving. For a minute, I feared it was deceased. But then I could see it was breathing! Ah, relief!

The two of us just stood there quietly, looking at the baby and looking at each other, like we had suddenly become its parents, and saying how we just could not believe how TINY it was. It was only a few steps away from my feet. I did not approach it any closer. I did not touch it. I did not make any loud noises.

Some things I could instantly assess: 1) This fawn has no visible injuries. 2) It is not crying out for its Mama. 3) Its ears are pert and not crumpled (crumpled could signify dehydration). 4) Its eyes are clear and bright. 5) Its nose is clean and wet. 6) The fawn is in a typical curled-up position. 7) There were no flies on or around the fawn.

These pieces of data indicate to me that this is a fawn who is NOT in need of any assistance. But the fact that it is so small brings out the protective spirit in all of us. You must fight the urge to "help." No matter how tempting it is, leave it be!

It is a good fawn, doing exactly what its Mama told it to do: to stay here until she returns for it, which may be hours and hours later. (Yes, it's hard to watch, but this is how it works with fawns, people. So PUT THAT BABY BACK!)

In the end, I took 9 photos of the baby, and we went on our merry way, quietly, talking softly and tiptoeing as though we were leaving the nursery. The time stamps on the photos tell me I photographed it for ONE MINUTE. Yes, leave no impact. Leave no trace! Oh, and let that baby be!

My husband says this should be our song for this adorable baby fawn, as this is what its Mama told it! Here is Rick Springfield, with Don't Talk to Strangers.

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