Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Fawns Arrive As The Antlers Grow

Late May Morning Along The Stream
Late May and early June is a rewarding time for the outdoor photographer in Southcentral Pennsylvania. There is no shortage of subjects to photograph as the whitetail fawns are being born, the bucks are growing their antlers, and the meadows are loaded with many species of wildflowers.

Yellow Goat's Beard
Most does give birth to the fawns in this area between mid-May and mid-June with the vast majority arriving the last few days  of May and the first few days in June.  This doe was still pregnant on May 30th as indicated by the large swollen abdomen.

Pregnant Doe
Another doe that I usually see each day had a large distended abdomen on May 30th and then I didn't see her until June 1st and her flanks were shrunken indicating that she had given birth. On June 2nd I got a few brief video clips of her nursing a fawn in a thicket, but a thunderstorm was approaching so there was little chance to exploit the opportunity.  I saw her again on the following evening and this time I got several video clips although again the brush was thick and it was hard to get a clear angle.  This time I managed to take a few still photographs with the 5D MK III.

Doe Nursing Fawn
While the fawns are being born, the buck's antlers keep getting larger. This buck is the second one pictured in the last post..  That photo was taken on May 22nd.  Today's photo was taken just one week later and he is now developing a point on his left antler.

Young Buck-One Week Later
Growth is very rapid and by early-mid July the older bucks will have 3/4 or more of their antler growth. This buck has already grown significantly longer beams in the few days since this photo was taken.  If he does not disperse it will be interesting to document his rack as it develops.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Ruth Hiebert said...

The first picture is awesome.

Linda G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda G. said...

Love the mist rising off the stream in the first picture. I will never forget, when my husband and I saw a mama deer and its baby along Skyline Drive. The baby was just learning to walk. Nature is a wonderful thing to observe.

Willard said...

Thanks for the comments, they are deeply appreciated.