Sula is an older white tailed doe who was probably giving birth on my property for many years before it was my property. There is a slightly smaller doe who travels with her that is either her sister or a friend. I have named her Aku. Aku does not always stay with Sula and her offspring. Especially in the winter, she will go off on her own in search of food. I won’t see her for long periods of time but she always appears and reunites with Sula at some point throughout the year. She normally sticks around Sula during the summer months and then leaves to do her thing. Sula is a highly attentive mother and in the past her fawns have been well taught and cared for. The first fawn she had on my property i dubbed Mirah. The second got hit by a car pretty early on. I was not home when it happened. I found Sula standing in the road by the back of the property near the orchard. She was guarding something. It was her baby. The vultures were waiting. I felt sad for her but the following year she had a new fawn which i dubbed Ninme. She was a wonderful mom and both Mirah and Ninme grew into healthy young does who followed their mom around, grazing and bedding down in either the woods near my fence or the fruit orchard. I feel like i should briefly mention, i’ve seen Aku have a fawn once before and she gave birth to a little fawn late this year but they typically don’t survive long as for whatever reason Aku is not interested in them. She doesn’t sniff, lick, or nudge her fawns like Sula and often runs when they attempt to nurse. I saw her with an itty bitty baby this year. I saw it twice and then it never made another appearance. Aku seems bonded to Sula but does not stand with or groom Sula’s daughters. She is a bit of a lone wolf. She does her own thing.
This year Sula’s fawn was a huge healthy baby. I couldn’t believe how big it was. It entered the world running and jumping from day one. It had a ton of energy and didn’t seem to listen to Sula at all. She told it to stay in the grass so it went adventuring the moment she was gone. She told it to lay down for bed so it went frolicking back and forth in front of the dog run and worked the barking creatures into a snarling frenzy. Ooh, new friends! She told it to stay away from dangerous things so it ran right up to me, hopping like a bunny rabbit. I can’t be sure but i suspect little Fairo may be a buckling. He’s huge, very active, and too bold for his own safety. Only time will tell.
At first i was sure little Fairo was not long for this world. He was running into the street, which both myself and the does have tried to deter him from. I’ve untangled him from the fence a couple times while his mom and sisters watched. He runs back and forth in front of the dog run fence antagonizing them in the evenings. He has come out of hiding at some of the worst moments, including a coyote sighting. He just pops his head up and prances around the field as if there’s nothing to worry about. He would not listen to Sula and Sula is not one for discipline. She’s a good teacher but if the pupil is not a willing student, she will just get up and walk away. I started noticing Ninme was being left behind with Fairo while Sula, Aku, and Mirah went grazing. Ninme is the most hyper-vigilant of the group. She is the smallest doe and highly skittish. She is absolutely uber suspicious of me and all other disturbances in the grass. She frequently scans the horizon while she grazes and keeps her ears twisting about in every direction. If she hears something she freezes and bends her knees to poise for running. If i approach she takes off in a sprint to get away from me. Fairo began to copy his sister Ninme’s behavior. He appeared more cautious of me after spending a bit of time under the tutelage of his sister and even began to make himself flat in the grass every time the coyotes began howling at dusk.
As soon as i began to think he may survive after all, thanks to his sister Ninme the cynic, i found him grazing alone, limping badly. There was no blood, no visible broken bones, but he had clearly gotten into something that hadn’t received him well. Fairo limped about the yard alone.