|Doe One Day After Giving Birth: Note Sunken Flanks|
I see the doe in the photo above on an almost daily basis, so it seemed likely that when she didn't appear on June 6th that she was giving birth. Sure enough, when she came to the meadow on the following morning, her flanks were sunken and the ribs were easily visible. After feeding for a time she left and was gone about thirty minutes, when suddenly a young fawn came lurching from the tall grass in the unsteady gait of the recently born and the doe came into view close behind. At the time I was filming birds and squirrels with the Canon XL-H1 so I switched it to them. After recording some exciting interaction between the doe, the fawn, and another young doe, I switched to the Canon 7D and the 300mm F2.8 for still photographs.
|Doe Nuzzles Recently Born Fawn|
|Does Are Very Protective Of The Young|
In a lot of cases one will see a fawn for a day or so and then never see it again, or it may be certain that a doe did give birth because of the sunken flanks and abdomen, but a fawn never appears and one doesn't know if it died during birth, from disease, or predation. In this case I was able to gain more insight* into how many fawns this doe had. At first I noticed her nursing a single fawn in the same spot the earlier photos were taken, but then she and the fawn walked into a small mountain stream. I had to make a decision as to which camera to use, so I decided to focus on video with a DSLR, which gave me the option to get both still and video. I had difficulty positioning the camera because of intervening shrubbery and grass, but surprise of surprises, when I was ready to film and looked through the finder, there were two fawns nursing from the doe. At one point I paused from filming to take a few still photographs.
|Doe With Twins|
It will be interesting to see if I continue to see them frequently, or if they will vanish for a time, or forever. One can only hope they are able to avoid predators and the other hazards that a young fawn faces.
*Note I only said "gain insight". While it is likely that she had twins, one cannot rule out triplets, or that she was nursing another doe's fawn. The only statement I can make that can be absolutely judged to be scientifically true is that I saw and filmed her nursing two fawns.
Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill