Sunday, July 10, 2011

Double the Pleasure

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

Yesterday morning as I was wondering what to write about, I looked out my window as I often do when I’m thinking. And suddenly, the perfect topic showed up a few feet from my window. Ask and you shall receive!

As I glanced towards the stone steps that go up into the woods, I saw a doe walk from one side of the steps to the other. So I waited and watched to see if she had a fawn or two with her.

And, sure enough, a little spotted fawn popped out of the weeds and cautiously crossed, following in the footsteps of his mother. And then another little spotted fawn popped out of the weeds and crossed the steps, quickly disappearing into the vegetation on the other side.

This isn’t the first time I have had the privilege of enjoying twin fawns outside my dining room window. Over the past few years, I’ve seen a doe with twin fawns almost every summer. A couple of times, they have been brave enough to come close to the house in order to drink from my birdbath and scavenge birdseed from below the feeders.

I have read that a doe will typically have a single fawn the first time and then twins the following years. I have also read that the mothers usually stay away from their fawns for a few days so that their scent doesn’t rub off on the fawns (who are born without a scent). This is nature’s way of protecting the fawn, along with giving them spots to help camouflage them.

One of my favorite children’s books is “Lost in the Woods,” featuring the wonderful photography of Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick. It’s about a new-born fawn whose mother has left him in order to protect him until he is strong enough to follow her. As the little fawn awaits the return of his mother, all the other forest animals wonder if he’s lost.

One of my favorite movies is Walt Disney’s “Bambi,” the story of a young deer as he grows, makes friends, and finds love. Millions of drawings were produced for this movie and the final movie is made up of roughly 400,000 drawings. The film opened in theaters in 1942 and was a box office flop. However it began to make money when it was re-released and today it is considered a classic.

If you like hiking in the woods, keep your eyes open and you might just spot a new-born fawn.

Happy Shunpiking!

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