Photos by Carole Balala
Full Color PDF Version
of the Spring 2012 Update (1,380KB)
Annual Fall Updates since 1989
A FAWN KNOWS
by Carole Balala
On a busy street in Santa Rosa a fawn had been hit by a car. The fawn was flipping around on the asphalt trying to get back on her feet. A caring individual pulled over to help. He picked up the large fawn, probably three months of age, and put her into the back of his vehicle.
He was familiar with what we do so he called Fawn Rescue immediately. Most times car accidents cause severe damage to fawns so I was quite worried when I picked up the fawn and she showed all the signs of a head injury. We always give each fawn the best possible care no matter how grim their situation looks, so that is what I did with this young doe.
The next morning I was delighted to find her standing and very much recovered! She must have just been stunned by the accident and was healthy and READY TO GO! I called the compassionate citizen who had picked her up and excitedly told him the good news. He wanted to accompany me on to the release site to show me exactly where he had found her.
When we got to the site there was some deliberation about where exactly she should be released. We knew where she was hit but a large creek ran under the road at that same location. Did she come from the north or south side of the creek? The south side had only a narrow corridor and was lined with tall, wood fences belonging to the houses beyond. It seemed more likely that she had come from the north because of the amount of open space and woodlands in that area.
We found what seemed like a safe place and opened the large dog crate. She flew out of that box like the wind! We thought all was right with the world as she bounded north into the trees ahead.
But then, as we turned back towards the car something caught our eye. The fawn had re-emerged from the woods and had turned south, moving quickly. I was terrified that she would run back into the street as she was momentarily traveling in that direction. But she was not headed for the road- she was headed for the creek! Bounding with purpose she went straight for and then leaped over the creek.
She belonged on the south side! Even young deer have an amazing internal map of their habitat; they are intimately familiar with their environment. She used that open, wild corridor to manage around the edge of the suburbs.
Wildlife rely on open spaces near creeks and developments to navigate. They depend on even small, open pathways to find food, water and shelter. Please remember this when planning your property boundaries. The wildlife of Sonoma County will benefit and endure because of your awareness.