Pitter Patter of Little Feet

(This post originally published in October 2010)

Our home is located in a very rural area of west-central Missouri. We have 10 acres of land that includes ~7 acres of wooded land and ~ 3 acres of meadow (now our “front and back yard”) and the typical wildlife that accompanies this type of landscape. We sometimes have a turkey that nests in the woods near our house. When she nests there, we cannot open our back door to walk onto our deck, without the hen making lots of noise at us. And in the early summer, we are usually blessed with deer fawns around our yard. In particular, we have a doe that, for the past couple of years, has learned that we are not a threat. Consequently, she often brings her fawns to our yard, where she grazes with them. And she has even dropped off the kids and left for the day, returning a bit before sunset to pick them up … Hey, wait a minute, we don’t have a daycare license!

Just the other day, we were returning home. As we pulled up our long drive, we noticed the doe lying along the edge of the woods, behind the house:

White-tailed Deer doe lying down


As we got out of the car and began unloading it, she was not at all frightened of us, just lying and watching us the entire time. She lay here for at least 30 minutes after we had gotten inside the house. After we got into the house, a quick check found that her 2 young companions (one buck and one doe) were grazing in our back yard while mom rested. Here is the young buck, just showing signs of his soon-to-be antlers:

Juvenile White-tailed Deer buck


A few minutes later, both juveniles wandered towards my veggie garden area, grazing on the weeds around the garden perimeter (yes, I’m way behind on weed control!) until they heard my camera shutter ablazin’. They then turned their undivided attention on me:

Juvenile White-tailed Deer


Noticing the young ones were startled, mom calmly walked over to the two to check out their distraction (me) and to protect them from any pending harm. In this next image, you can see all 3 of the family. The 2 juveniles were a bit on edge, jumping about and creating a bit of a blur in the image:

White-tailed Deer doe with 2 juveniles


The 2 young ones then bolted off towards the woods. Although not really bothered by my presence, mom followed them into the woods, presumably to be with and comfort them. But not a longlasting effect … they were all 3 back in our yard last night, feeding on some shrub leaves right outside our door, even with my wife standing at the door!

So, when we hear the pitter patter of little feet around our house, we run to the closest window or door to catch a glimpse of our little neighborhood babies … always such a joy.

Posted in Mammals, Nature Photography
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