May 14 2013

Not Tame, But Trusting

Published by at 7:30 am under Mammals

Doe and fawn (photo by Sharon Leadbitter)

It used to be that wild animals avoided human contact but that's not true in Pittsburgh anymore.  We have hawks, wild turkeys, foxes and deer in the city.  Not every animal can cope with city life but the individuals who can tolerate close human approach are doing quite well in our parks and cemeteries.

Sharon Leadbitter visits Allegheny Cemetery often and frequently saw this doe and fawn last summer.  They weren't tame but they learned that Sharon isn't dangerous. This was reinforced for the fawn every time it met a human and Mom said "It's ok."

Fawns are born in May in Pennsylvania so by now this baby is an adult and it's mother has a new fawn.  I'll bet this doe will let Sharon meet her new fawn, too.

And there will probably be four deer this year.  This doe plus her new fawn, and this fawn (now an adult) plus her fawn.  That's how easy it is to end up with a lot of deer.

(photo by Sharon Leadbitter)

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Not Tame, But Trusting”

  1. Mary Ann Pikeon 14 May 2013 at 9:13 am

    Wild animals in the laurel highlands aren’t so trusting. My husband and I were hiking in Laurel Hill State Park one time. It had started raining while we were on the hike, so we’re soaking wet, hiking back to the car. The trail went up a pretty steep hill and as we get to the top, we see a doe and 2 small fawns. To our immense surprise, one of the fawns starts running toward us full-tilt when it sees us. I could imagine the headline in the paper, “2 Soaked Hikers Attacked by Fawn in State Park.” When the fawn was about 15 feet away from us, the doe calls loudly, the fawn puts on the brakes and makes a sudden change of direction to run back toward the doe. So, obviously, she thought we looked like unsavory characters.

  2. Sharonon 14 May 2013 at 10:28 am

    I’m already on fawn watch …… :). In the cemetery the deer know that they have a safe haven. I just wish people wouldn’t feed them. I often see them being fed the wrong things such a white bread, sugary cereals and I’ve even seen them being fed a candy bar!!!!

    White bread, sugars and corn feed tend to do a number on them, especially the fawns. Last year one of them became really ill from the “scours” which was the result of being fed white bread and corn on a consistent basis. With some advice from a wildlife rehabber, I was able to help this little one with medicine stuffed in apple pieces.

    Just because it tastes good to you doesn’t mean it’s right for the deer.

  3. Nannie Underwoodon 14 May 2013 at 10:48 am

    Once you have a “herd” of deer in the city, the true damage begins, and nobody will be able to grow things that deer like to eat. My brother in Boston suburbs has major problems with deer eating everything in his yard, unless he puts a TALL fence around it. Just sayin’….

  4. Nannie Underwoodon 14 May 2013 at 10:48 am

    Plus the deer bring Lyme disease ticks. Very dangerous.

  5. Kayon 15 May 2013 at 9:58 am

    Good work Sharon – you are truly an animal lover to care so much about a young fawn and nurse it back to health. I fully agree with you regarding humans feeding deer things that they would never find in the wild. Deer will survive without our handouts, they have for many many years.

    The wooded area behind my house is a protected park owned by our local municipality. The deer population was somewhat out of control, as they had no natural predators and food was plentiful. The local municipality decided to “cull” the herd a few years ago – the theory being that too many deer get hit by cars, what they needed to do was to stop over-developing and destroying the deer habitat. We still have deer that roam our backyards, but not as many.

    Regarding the deer damage to landscaping, I plant deer resistant shrubs and use a product called Liquid Fence. You spray the plants and a perimeter around your shrubs and all it takes is a couple of applications, and the deer know to steer clear of that area. If you are worried about chemicals, there is an alternative “natural” concoction that you can make at home with eggs, milk and some other ingredients. We all need to learn to live together-the deer were here long before we were.

  6. Maureen Carron 16 May 2013 at 1:11 am

    Thanks for the beautiful photo & for caring about wildlife in the city. If I had lots of money I would buy land all over for wildlife to live. We must stop all the development that is taking away their habitat. I see many deer in Garfield at night or early morning, & they are definitely not afraid. I had a second job at the ZOO years ago, & I was very fond of & close to some of the deer in the deer yard.

  7. gooberon 01 Jan 2015 at 9:49 pm

    The deer seem to like paska bread. I also feed them matzo balls.

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