Fawn Rescue




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2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
1997 1996 1995 1994 1993
1992 1991 1990 1989

1989 1989 Update

This was a busy year for Fawn Rescue. A total of 48 fawns, 24 Western Gray Squirrels and various other species of wildlife came to us for care this past season. Since we are the only facility in Sonoma County licensed to accept fawns, and word spreads that we are here, this number will continue to increase.

As civilization moves into the habitat of wild creatures it becomes more difficult for them to survive. Without the interest and support of our friends it would be impossible for us to be here for wildlife when the need arises.

Thanks for caring. Have a wonderful year.


1990 1990 Update

Another busy season has come to an end at Fawn Rescue. A total of 62 fawns were cared for at our facility in 1990. Other species were also helped along their way to an eventful life in the wild.

Studies have shown that due to the continuing drought and the increasing loss of habitat, a larger percentage of wildlife appear to be experiencing a great deal of stress. It becomes more difficult for these creatures to find water and nourishment. Their health and their very lives are at risk.

Your continued support toward our effort is much appreciated. We are all responsible for preserving Earth's wonders. Thank you for being there for wildlife.


1991 1991 Update

Marjorie has written a wonderful book about Gabriel,
called Leap To Freedom.

Marjorie Davis and Gabriel
Marj & Gabriel
  Photo by Janet Prince
It has been a desperate year for wildlife. As our concerns increase so do Fawn Rescue's efforts in bringing care to the wild creatures in need. A total of 61 fawns, adult deer and other wild species kept us busy this season. The construction of an additional large enclosure was necessary to house the overabundance of spring arrivals.

Due to the combination of drought, loss of habitat, and the severe winter temperatures the mortality rate is high, the body weights are low, and the natural immunities are not being passed from the mother to her young.

Without our help wildlife will surely disappear. A real tragedy for us all. Together we must make a difference. Thank you for being one who cares.

May 1992 bring you JOY.


Think Rain !

1992 1992 Update

It's fall once again and most young wildlife has come and gone for another year. Arrivals of juveniles and adult deer that need our help continue, so the work doesn't stop with the change of season.

This is time of year for gathering acorns, walnuts and pine cones, and drying and storing them for next spring's newborns. They must be taught to recognize their natural foods and where is an acorn to be found in the spring? Only in our storage bins, "squirreled" away in the cool, dry cellar. Much work goes on behind the scenes, besides the obvious rescue, care and release of our friends of forest and field.

There is no place to stop. The need grows larger each year. Fawn Rescue received the unreal total of 89 fawns this past season. Many other species find their way to us as well. Two fawns, only three weeks old, came to us in September. They are still here, as yet too young to release. Nature seems off schedule, perhaps for many reasons.

Your concern for wildlife is vital to us all. Thank you for continuing to care.


1993 1993 Update
Fawn Feeding Time
  Photograph by Kathryn Aanestad
Our "Fawnmobile" travels many thousands of miles throughout the year in the rescue of some very special wildlife. This season 81 fawns, so far, have been brought to our doorstep, plus other species of wildlife in need. Fawns have been transported by Fawn Rescue from many other counties, such as: Los Angeles, Contra Costa, Yolo, Colusa, Solano, Santa Cruz, Mendicino, San Mateo, Sacramento, Lake, Marin, Toulumne, Napa and Stanislas, in addition to every corner of Sonoma County.

An overnight trip, or a six-hour drive in heavy rain or fog is not considered unreasonable. These small creatures do not understand boundaries, seasons, or time of day, nor are they of any importance to Fawn Rescue.

Two "Care-In Captivity" manuals, one on Black-tailed fawns and the other on Western Gray squirrels, have been written and published by Marjorie Davis, founder and director of Fawn Rescue. These manuals are used as guides by other wildlife specialists and are distributed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. We are proud to be making this much needed contribution to wildlife care.

Thank you for your continued interest. By being a part of Fawn Rescue you are a participant in a very special and unique wildlife project.

We wish you a year filled with harmony and joy.


1994 1994 Update

A wildlife center in British Columbia admitted their first newborn Moose. They frantically called Fawn Rescue for advice and after following instructions from our fawn care manual (with some SLIGHT adjustments) as advised, the moose thrived and was eventually released. We were pleased to have served an important function in an exciting project. We receive many interesting queries from distant parts of the United States and Canada. It was for this reason our two wildlife care manuals were written.

At year's end Fawn Rescue had received 98 fawns (no moose). Due to the many emergency calls we respond to, our work has become a year-round service. Never again will it be seasonal. As another of our specialties we still delight in the care of Western Gray squirrels.

This spring we finished the construction of a new holding pen. It provides a protected area in which to keep injured fawns separate from the more rowdy, healthy ones and yet it allows them contact with their own species until they are able to join them. This new pen serves a double purpose. It is also used for sorting fawns at release time. We now have several releases each fall and separating them into groups became more difficult each year. As we build and grow we discover new ways to deal with these problems.

Fawn Rescue is honored to be one of only eleven wildlife facilities throughout the state to have earned a Certificate of Accreditation from International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. This certificate acknowledges that Fawn Rescue meets, or exceeds, all wildlife rehabilitation standards.

As director of Fawn Rescue, I have been awarded a California Department of Fish and Game Director's Achievement Award for outstanding support of wildlife protection and conservation. I also received a Statement of Appreciation from Wildlife Investigations Laboratory of the Department of Fish and Game for pioneering techniques in caring for and rehabilitation of fawns.

Fawn Rescue has come a long way since the first fawn arrived in 1986. The recognition and support from our many friends is heart-warming and encouraging. It's what makes possible our dedication to provide the very best care for wildlife.

May the coming year be filled with the warmth of friendship.


1995 1995 Update
Bottle Feeding a Fawn
Surely last winter's rains may be credited with the good news. Healthier does passed on stronger immunities and provided quality nourishment for their offspring this season, which resulted in far fewer ill fawns.

Sadly, the number of human related injuries to wildlife hasn't declined. Young ones soon become old enough to leave beds, nests, and dens and are exposed to many hazards. Then the heart-rending time for rescue work begins.

Besides rescues, other opportunities to serve Sonoma County continue to present themselves. I am involved, on a small scale, in the Sonoma Creek Adopt-A-Watershed Restoration Project. I also offer wildlife talks to both public and private schools, adult groups, and at public functions.

It is against the policy of Fawn Rescue to use living wildlife for education. Therefore, my talks center around a collection of mounted animals. This exhibit provides the public with the rare opportunity to examine, at close range, hoofs, claws, hair textures, and other features without stress to the animal. The response has been great. Children are fascinated, and full of amazing questions. Their letters and drawings reflect their enthusiasm. To date, this collection consists of a newborn fawn, an adult and infant hare, an adult and juvenile squirrel and one enormous raccoon that dwarfs them all. At the taxidermist's and soon ready to be added to this collection, are a bob-cat, a gray fox and two brush rabbits, which are now on the threatened list and seldom seen in the wild. All of these wild creatures died of human related causes, a fact which makes its own strong impact on any audience.

As director of Fawn Rescue, I am honored to have received Sonoma Ecology Center's first award in the new wildlife category, "in recognition of stewardship, generosity, and outstanding contribution for our environment and our community".

Fawn Rescue succeeds because you care. Thank you for your continued interest.

Have a year of happy days.


1996 1996 Update
Marjorie Davis bottle feeding fawn
Photograph by Kathryn Aanestad
The attached letter is one of many of the astounding notes I look forward to receiving after giving wildlife talks at Sonoma County schools. Don't you just know the world has not heard the last of Sophia? These wildlife talks, offered without charge during the winter months when the need for animal care is not so demanding, are becoming more popular each year. A total of eight mounted species provides a well-rounded representation of Sonoma County native wildlife. I would enjoy training someone to give these presentations on behalf of Fawn Rescue. A special person, one who delights in communicating with children and who would be dedicated to a long-term commitment. I could then carry on my work in the rescue and care of animals while the talks continued year-round. So often I must refuse to participate at worthwhile public functions because I am knee deep in small wild creatures. Perhaps you know of the perfect person. Let me know.

This spring a newborn fawn was picked up at a local park by a family who passed the terrified baby from person to person as they posed for photos, then allowed the children to carry and play with it on the grass. A park ranger rescued the distressed fawn and notified Fawn Rescue immediately. I arrived within a half-hour only to find the fawn had died of stress. As a result of this tragic incident I made signs to warn the public not to touch fawns. These signs are now posted in entry stations, and on rest-room doors, in most of the public parks throughout Sonoma County. The solution to these wildlife disasters, and our most powerful weapon against them, is education.

In the meantime Fawn Rescue functions at a hectic pace. The herds of deer are healthy this year. Two great winters of rain have been a boon to us all. By the end of June I had already received 53 fawns which is nearly double the usual amount for so early in the season. I was able to reunite many of the very young ones with their anxious and searching mothers. Fawns are often picked up by people who mistakenly think they are abandoned. Does do not abandon their fawns, and yes, all wildlife moms DO gladly accept their babies back even though they have been touched by humans. One doe remained close by as I pulled a struggling fawn free from a barbed wire fence, I strapped the badly wounded little deer to my wheeled stretcher and as I pulled him toward the truck the doe walked up close, glanced at her fawn, then looked directly at me as if to ask where her fawn would go. How I wished to somehow be able to communicate with the troubled mother, to assure her that I'd make her baby well and return him to her. Two weeks later I drove the fully recovered fawn to the trail where the doe had last been seen. He leaped, without hesitation, from the truck and back into his familiar wild world.

Thank you for your continued participation in the welfare of wildlife. Caring for these creatures of the wild is not so much our obligation as it is our privilege.

Have a new year bright with love.


1997 1997 Update

This past season has been a record-breaking nightmare. The problems confronting wildlife are increasing yearly. Most of these are a direct result of man-made hazards - not the natural course of nature. Otherwise, these shy creatures would still be following their moms down a well-traveled trail of their ancestors. Therefore, I do feel an obligation to help in their recovery. The first day of spring I received my first fawn and, since she recovered quickly from her rescue from a pool of icy water, she was also the first to be released back into her wild world. From that day the pace never slackened and by the end of May I had picked up a staggering total of 48 fawns. This is far above the usual amount so early in the year. Now, in November, the count continues and has spilled over the 100 mark. Indeed, Fawns-R-Us,as a friend scribbled on the dusty Fawnmobile one busy day.

Gradually, over the years, Fawn Rescue has established satellites throughout Sonoma County. Homeowners, serving as volunteer managers, have set up wooded enclosures on their large remote parcels of land on which they raise three to four fawns a year. Fawns are stabilized at the Fawn Rescue facility then transported to the satellite where they are raised for four months. Once they are weaned, recognize their natural foods and are well prepared to live in a wild environment, they are released directly from the satellite to live in familiar territory. This is a gentle, non-stressful release. They are free to return until they no longer need the security of the enclosure. Some fawns linger close to the satellite for a few days, but most of them dash joyfully away to freedom with never a backward glance.

Because we are careful not to overpopulate any area, by varying the number of releases in each section of the county, I am still in need of additional satellites. These satellites are approved, and monitored, by the Department of Fish and Game and operate under a permit issued to Fawn Rescue.

As our work-load increases this arrangement has proven to be ideal. I am forever indebted to the friends who are participating in this program so perfectly.

Our education program continues to move forward. We finally got back, from the taxidermist, the exceptionally beautiful bob-cat to add to our collection of native Sonoma County mammals. She has proven to be a real attraction and study of nature.

My thanks, as always, for your continued interest in my work. It means more than you know. No man is an island.


1998 1998 Update
The Fawn Who fell From the Sky
The Fawn Who Fell From the Sky
Our first patient for 1998 was not a fawn, nor a squirrel, but a juvenile skunk. These lovely creatures, that are of so much benefit to the world, deserve every bit as much help when they are in need as do those animals who may not spray when threatened, but will bite, kick or stab. I captured this injured skunk with a net, placed him in a cage and transported him to our Kenwood vet, Dr. Jon Steel. Back at Fawn Rescue the skunk was comfortably settled in one of the vacant fawn pens and provided with food and water. Not once did this intelligent youngster spray. Gentleman Skunk? Indeed.

As a result of the continuous rain, a massive fir tree fell directly onto one of our fawn enclosures, totally demolishing the entire pen - fences, shelter, gates, the works. Just two weeks before, long-term fawns that were finally ready to be free had been moved out. No animal would have survived in that pen. Surely the woodland gods were in charge of this affair. Needless to say, the tree needed to be removed, the area restored, and the enclosure quickly replaced. By the time the work was done our now bigger and better pen began to fill with fawns again. We value these trees for providing shade and isolation for our wild ones and hope that in the future they will remain in an upright position.

Is there anyone in the North Bay area who didn't read Gaye LeBaron's touching story of Tom, the Eagle and the Fawn That Fell From The Sky? Tom watched in awe as a golden eagle flying overhead dropped a struggling, seven pound fawn from a height of thirty feet. That's how it works in our predator/prey world. Some win, some lose. This time the fawn was given a second chance at life. Tom hurried home with the badly injured fawn and called Fawn Rescue. I rushed her directly to Dr. Grant Patrick who treated her for severe head trauma. She gasped for breath. She was totally blind. Determined to live, each day this tiny doe fought to overcome the neurological damage. As I massaged her legs she struggled to stand. As I fed her with a small syringe she learned to control her tongue and nurse. Finally, on the seventh day her eyesight returned and she was ready to join her own species. She thrived. She raced and flipped in the air with the joy of just being alive.

I am grateful to the ever-compassionate vets who play such a vital role in this wildlife rescue work. Our organization could not survive without them.

Thanks to all of you who care.
Celebrate nature's magic throughout the coming year.

1999 1999 Update
Spotted Fawn
A wish of many years has been granted. A generous friend of both wild and domestic animals has donated a World Wide Web Page to Fawn Rescue. This is something I had always hoped for, but never expected to have. We are so proud of our beautiful professional page and very grateful to our benefactor for this long-lasting gift. Check it out at http://www.sonic.net/dana/fawns. Calls for help and advice are coming in from all over the United States. What a great extension of information. Internet is an amazing networking vehicle that constantly proves its worth.

There is never an end to new experiences at Fawn Rescue. This spring a bumper crop of unusually small fawns, many under four pounds, began to arrive. In May we received an awesome miniature fawn of only 2 ¾ pounds. I never dreamed they could be born so small. Those that lived quickly grew to normal-sized, thriving fawns eager for freedom.

My wildlife book, Leap to Freedom, has been donated to many county school libraries and is proving to be another avenue for teaching. Some school districts are considering its use for extra-credit or as part of their reading curriculum. The book is being used by a specialized learning center to give their students a better understanding of wildlife while improving their learning skills.

Many public functions invite our participation in their outreach programs and county schools continue to request our free wildlife talks. The mounted animals we have accumulated over the years were on display from July through September at Finley Recreation Center’s environmental exhibit, and at Lake Sonoma’s Visitors Center.

When I first began caring for fawns in 1986 a good percentage of those I received had been picked up by people who thought any fawn that was seen alone was in immediate need of help. Those fawns were separated from their moms unnecessarily. Through many years of school talks, presentations, our collection of mounted native wildlife, my book, and now the Web Page, the message is getting out about leaving those fawns alone. Each year we receive a greater percentage of fawns that are ill, or injured, and are in real need of help (which is our purpose), and we receive fewer of the healthy fawns that don’t need to be rescued. The public is getting the message - DON’T TOUCH THE FAWNS.


2000 2000 Update

Spotted Fawn
If the driver of the car had only cared enough to stop, the four-pound twin fawns found lying beside their mother could have had the immediate attention they so desperately needed. By the time they were noticed, and driven from Annapolis to Fawn Rescue, the smallest fawn was lying on her side gasping for breath and struggling to live. These nearly starved babies, too weak to nurse, were fed with a syringe, one ounce of nourishment every hour. They finally opened their eyes, then held up their heads, to assure me they intended to live. And live they did - flipping and leaping as their strength returned. It helped that they could quickly be transferred to one of our out-shelters to be with other fawns. At night they curled together in one mass of spotted hair - with a few long ears jutting out at odd angles.

The generic fawn formula we have used since Fawn Rescue was founded was discontinued. After much research we located an animal nutrition manufacturer that, at our request, has produced a formula specifically blended to satisfy the nutritional needs of Black-tailed fawns. This will be the first formula of its kind and of great benefit not only to our fawns, but to all Coastal Black-tailed deer. We are pleased that this company is so willing to work with us for the well-being of the animals in our care.

Due to more wildlife hazards in Sonoma County the number of trips to our local vets has increased. We are grateful to have these skilled and caring people so willing to help. Fawn spirit is not broken even when bones are. We watch in amazement as they hobble purposefully toward the feeders in their cumbersome braces.

Even though we are clearly FAWN Rescue, we continue to be called to rescue adult deer. We help when we can. One yearling doe had been kept tied in a harness in a very small enclosed backyard since the spring of 1999. We brought this emaciated, tame, very lonesome doe back with us to teach her to be a wild deer. Because of our intervention, today she roams free with her own species in a protected, privately owned, wildlife refuge.

Our free wildlife school talks continue to be received with enthusiasm. During the months when school is not in session our mounted education animals are on display to the public at Spring Lake Visitor's Center.

As founder and director of Fawn Rescue, I received an award from Earth Elders of Sonoma County in recognition of our devotion to the work necessary to sustain life on this planet for future generations. It's an honor to be included in this dedicated group of older adults who have accomplished so much during their lifetime. Those of us who have lived long enough to be called 'elders' owe a great deal to this earth that we have used for so many years.

Wishing you a bright and beautiful year.


2001 2001 Update
What a Group!
What a Group! Raised together and released together.
Second from left (male) and last on right (female) are twins.
Photo by Jan Kennedy
This year Fawn Rescue has been involved in a number of opportunities for getting the word out to the public about our important public service work with wildlife. Channel 50, Santa Rosa, filmed a short news segment on driving with caution, which included our many rescues due to highway hazards. We also participated in filming for a new program "Everybody's Angels" shown on Cable Channel 23, San Francisco. Another film, made for Channel 4's popular "Bay Area Backroads" included a Fawn Rescue release, an injury rescue and treatment, and a wildlife education talk given at Sonoma Charter School. These important parts of our work don't usually get the attention they deserve. Recently, we have been written up in articles from the San Francisco Chronicle, Press Democrat, Sonoma Index-Tribune, Kenwood Press, The Independent Coast Observer, and the Upbeat Times.

Over the years Fawn Rescue has developed an ideal method for raising and releasing fawns. We now have six skilled, committed volunteers who work individually with these delicate, wild creatures. Each of us are homeowners living in remote areas throughout the county. The fawn is taken to a vet when necessary, then stabilized at the Fawn Rescue facility in Kenwood before being transferred to one of these out-shelters. Each out-shelter manager takes responsibility for usually no more than four fawns. The fawns are raised in safe, secluded enclosures where they relate to their own species and are exposed to only one human during their four-month stay in captivity. Once they are weaned, recognize their natural foods, and are prepared to survive in the wild, the gate is opened and they are free to adjust, as a small family, in the surrounding, familiar territory. Our unique, and proven, method prevents unnecessary stress to the fawns, and to us. The alternate, and most widely used method is to raise an entire year's fawns together in one enclosure. Once they are raised, they are captured and transported to unfamiliar territory where they are released as one large group. This procedure can quickly overpopulate an area and is a highly traumatic experience for the animals. We are pleased that we finally have the experienced volunteers it takes to make Fawn Rescue's ideal method work.

After many years of wishing and telling of our need, we now have an accomplished and environmentally aware Education Director. Ask the children how great she is! They are all fascinated and full of amazing questions. It is against our polity to use live animals in classrooms. We believe their use for public education causes stress to the animal and conveys the wrong message to the children -that it is okay to keep these wild animals in captivity, or possibly as pets. Therefore, our talks are centered around a collection of native, mounted wildlife. These animals died from accidents or illness and are now being used to teach our children. Our latest addition is a magnificent vulture. A special permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows us to have this migratory bird as a valuable part of our education exhibit.

As founder and director of Fawn Rescue, I was honored at the 'Points of Lights Celebration' in San Francisco, with a U.S. Congressional award as one of the twenty-five top volunteers in the Bay Area. I am extremely grateful to our dedicated staff of volunteers for making Fawn Rescue worthy of such recognition. No man is an island.

Fawn Rescue continues to improve and grow, and with each step we benefit both the animals entrusted to our care, and the concerned citizens who live within our borders. We sincerely acknowledge that we could not carry on this specialized work without you, our friends.

We humans see the world out of the windows of our own small room and think we've seen it all, but each species has its own window and its own view. - Lorraine Anderson

Marjorie Davis - Director


2002 Update
Dr. Patrick Grant & Friend
Dr. Grant Patrick and Friend
Photo by Marj Davis
One cold, soggy afternoon in May a gigantic oak tree cracked off at its base and crashed into our smallest fawn enclosure. The entire 45' pen was covered with branches, leaves, enormous trunk and limbs. Smaller brush, trees, fences, and posts were demolished under its power and mammoth size. After the deafening crash, all was quiet: I saw no movement from my four tiny fawns. As I desperately forced open the gate and tried to peer through the tangle of leaves, the two biggest fawns, less than ten pounds each, slowly pushed their way toward me through the heavy fallen brush, gingerly stepping over low limbs and crawling under larger ones. I marveled that they still lived. Then quickly behind them stumbled the two tiny ones no more than a few days old. They were extremely frightened and hungry, but uninjured. Where had they fled, to avoid the crashing debris that covered them?

After giving each one its bottle I clipped and sawed until dark, cutting a small path for the fawns to move through. As I worked, they stayed close, nibbling on the freshly fallen leaves. By May we had rescued thirty-six fawns and our large enclosure was filled, Jan's shelter for infant fawns was filled, so we had no place to transfer these four little ones. The next day was spent clearing out as much as possible without using power saws. Fences were extended, to prevent predators from walking up the tree base and into the pen. Permanent repair of fences and the removal of the huge limbs and branches, still resting on fences and on the floor of the enclosure, must wait until these four were old enough to be transferred. A lovely apple tree the fawns enjoyed lying under, while sampling its leaves, was totally destroyed. The pen looked bare without it. But the fawns soon settled down in their vastly altered home, while we moved on with the demands of the season.

Problems confronting wildlife increase yearly and, at times, seem insurmountable. Last year was a record season. we totaled out at 101 fawns!!    This season will surely be a repeat. Nevertheless, our dedication to helping wildlife survive continues undaunted. Sonoma County's wildlife is being   gradually pushed back into pockets of land where there are still a few corridors for them to travel through, where there is still water and natural food. Therefore, more wild creatures are being seen and picked up by humans, more illness and injuries are taking their toll. If you do see a wild baby alone, remember it has not been abandoned. It is waiting where it was left by its mother, who must travel in search of nourishment. She will return to care for it much better than we can. Pass on the word to leave them alone. In our free wildlife talks to school children we repeat this message over and over again. Our magnificent vulture, with outstretched wings, is back from the taxidermist's. Julie is now using it in her excellent lectures, along with our nine other mounted native wildlife exhibits. Children are fascinated.

This season the big push has been to recruit drivers to help with the transportation of our fawns. These emergency calls must be responded to at once. The public cannot safely bring fawns to us in their vehicles as they can do with birds or small mammals. We are grateful to Sonoma County Animal Regulation for working closely with us by bringing fawns in, or calling Fawn Rescue to meet their driver, when they perceive that a fawn may-be saved.

Specialized animal protocols are a new addition to the permit issued to wildlife facilities by the CA Department of Fish and Game. Fawn Rescue's fawn protocol has been accepted as a part of this permit. These protocols are a positive step toward assuring proper care of the animals with which we are entrusted.

Marjorie Davis - Director

Everything tells the story of the universe - the wind, trees, birds, stones. Today it is harder to hear them. Thomas Berry

2003 Update

In the Fawnmobile - heading out
Photo by Jan Kennedy
Fawn Rescue is licensed to care for all wildlife, except birds. In addition, a special permit authorizes us to provide long-term care for deer, both fawns and adult. Fawns are our specialty, our focus, and our dedication. However, there are times when a caller asks for help with an injured adult deer. A young woman found a doe lying beside the highway in a dazed condition. When I arrived at the scene the doe was gone. I began a wide, slow search, knowing she could not have traveled far. Roadside fences allowed no corridor through which she could escape from further danger, so it was important to find her. I soon saw the doe swaying weakly against a gate, trying to reach the open space beyond. I tranquilized her as she stood in the tiny alcove. She quickly folded her body down onto the driveway. I drove back to the woman's home, calling out for help. Three of us struggled to lift this large deer into the truck. She offered no resistance. We drove back to the rear of the woman's property and carefully lowered the doe near the bank of a natural stream. She was treated for head trauma, propped up on her sternum and left to recover. Luckily, she had no broken bones, no serious abrasions or bleeding. That evening the doe stood unsteadily, but surely, on her feet in her safe haven. By morning she was gone, her hoof prints showing clearly along the stream bank.

Each year we learn. New experiences continue to remind us that we will never truly understand all the ways of the wild. Some of you may remember our experience a few years ago with "the fawn that fell from the sky". A golden eagle had lost its grip and dropped this newborn fawn from a height of 30 feet. After many weeks of convalescence the fawn recovered. And again this summer, as our fawns slept in their fenced, highly protected outshelter, a small, six-week old doe was killed by a golden eagle. Who would expect such danger to come from the sky? This healthy, rapidly growing fawn could not be lifted through the oak foliage by this powerful predator, so it flew off without its prey, dropping a feather as it fled. Later, in another wild and natural outshelter, surrounded by 8 foot double-fencing, a mountain lion killed one of our older fawns. We raise these fawns in wild habitats, far away from humans and domestic animals. This is essential for them to maintain their wildness. We do understand, and accept, that predators are a natural part of these remote habitats, and that these acts are a part of nature. We are finding that as our natural habitat disappears, and predator and prey are crowded together in their search for food and space, these incidents are becoming more difficult to prevent. Nevertheless, it was a devastating experience for Jan, who willing gives so much of herself to raising and releasing these fawns, and for Hal, who is dedicated to preserving the habitat and the future of all wildlife.

Each year it becomes more difficult for us to repair the severe injuries that fawns receive as a direct result of human interference. Cars, fences, dogs off-leash, etc. This season many more fawns were hit on roads and highways. These accidents are unavoidable, but if the driver would simply stop to see if the helpless creature was still alive and notify us, more of them could be saved. Time is crucial to its survival. And when that call does come, we must go. At the sound of the ringing phone everything is put on hold: previous appointments, guests, and partially cooked meals. These calls are always emergencies. An injured fawn can't wait for us to finish dinner. A newly orphaned fawn can't schedule a convenient time for us to rescue it from a roadside. Any time a fawn can be walked up to, and picked up, it is in deep trouble. We need drivers to help us in this traumatic and demanding volunteer work.

Julie continues to respond to all requests for our free wildlife talks. Educating Sonoma County children about wildlife is an important priority for Fawn Rescue. We feel that if we charge for this program many schools would be unable to provide their students with this essential contact with nature. Call Julie at (707) 935-6250 to schedule an appointment.


2004 Update
Last year's fawn greets this year's fawn
Last year's fawn, healthy & living in the 
wild, visits one of this year's fawns
Photo by Jan Kennedy
Twice this year Fawn Rescue was notified of free-ranging adult deer having rings caught tightly around their ankles. These carelessly discarded metal, or plastic, rings cause swelling and infection, and are fatal if not removed. Because adult deer can be dangerous, we are usually only able to rescue fawns. It would have been impossible for us to capture these powerful animals, and remove the crippling rings, without the cooperation of the California Department of Fish and Game and the skill of their dedicated wildlife biologists. Our great satisfaction is in knowing that both of these lovely creatures of the wild are once again living a free and natural life. Read more and see pictures of the Buck, Adorned with Anklet and SheCaught the Brass Ring.

Fawn Rescue has been called more than a dozen times this year to rescue dying fawns with injuries inflicted by dogs. However, the true count of wildlife brought down by unrestrained domestic animals will never been known. Dogs are recreational hunters. They do not kill for food. Once the fun of the chase is over they lose interest, leaving these defenseless young animals, just beginning their start in life, to die a terrifying, painful, and lingering death. Each of us must take responsibility for our own pets, keeping them under control as the law requires. We must talk to irresponsible dog owners, or report them to Animal Regulation. We must stop this senseless killing. For more information, please read Of Dogs and Deer.

The severe loss of wildlife habitat forces predator and prey to exist more closely together, and to compete in their search for food and water sources. We are dealing with many more human-related incidents, and, as a result this past season was another record-breaking year. Our work is no longer seasonal.

You may recall that, in our Update 2003, we told of two fawns being killed by hungry wild predators. These incidents were the result of the shrinking habitat. These hungry creatures are forced to go wherever food may be found. We later received a generous donation, given to us as a legacy for our fawn that was killed by a mountain lion. We decided that the most lasting and far-reaching way to use this gift would be in our school education  program. So, working in partnership with Sonoma 

2005 Update
Fawns at the feeders
Fawns at the feeders
Photo by Jan Kennedy



Fawns, being released
Fawns, being released
Photo by Jan Kennedy



Free again, and wild
Free again, and wild
Photo by Jan Kennedy
There was a time when we thought our work with wildlife would slow down as Sonoma County became more urbanized. Instead, each year it's becoming more difficult for wildlife to exist and for Fawn Rescue to protect them. As you know, wild habitat is rapidly being destroyed, which leads to many more human-related hazards. Less natural range, less access to food and water, more predators (both natural and domestic), more roads, more fences, etc. – all take their toll. Last year our count rose to 109! A lot of fawns. This year is no different. No, there are not more deer. Just more humans moving into territory where deer normally live.

As the enclosed story about the Mudhole Trap indicates, in the spring we're able to return most of the fawns back where they belong without having to raise them in captivity. This is the best rescue of all. Then, as fawns grow older they're more prone to accidents and this is where our job becomes much more difficult, with visits to a vet, medications, treatments, and a long convalescence for these animals that we hope will survive. But once they're recovered, it's our great joy to open the gate and watch them bound away to freedom. Because these fawns are released on private land we can be certain they eagerly adapt to their life in the wild.

Our thanks to the Sonoma County Animal Regulation for the many times their officers have picked up injured and orphaned fawns and brought them to us. If these officers think the fawn can be saved, they always give it that chance. We received one small buck that was blind from severe head trauma but, with immediate attention, he regained his sight, recovered, and will be going out soon. It does take a lot of caring people to get this job done. Yes, "it takes a village."

Our wildlife education outreach programs continue to bring in many invitations from schools, public functions, and other wildlife groups, where we can share what we have learned.

By next spring we will have five fawn home-care centers scattered throughout the county. We're grateful to Sonoma County Fish and Wildlife Commission who, over the years, has so willingly helped provide funding for needed material to build these enclosures. A small number of fawns are raised by property owners, in large, remote, natural settings, and are later released in this familiar place where they've been raised. We've found this to be the least stressful release for both the fawns and for us. Raising these fragile creatures wild and ready to take their place once again in the natural world takes hard work, real dedication, and long-term commitment. As fawns are gradually weaned we must provide them with more and more natural browse and acorns. It's amazing how much green forage one small fawn can eat in a day! This takes hours of searching, cutting, gathering, and transporting. But these young ones must be fed just what they will find in the wild, what they would be eating if they were with the doe. Otherwise they will not thrive. We must not be tempted to feed them alfalfa and garden veggies. A sure way for them to be shot if caught raiding farms and gardens.

Since Fawn Rescue was founded in 1989, I've been well able, and most willing, to continue working as Director. But, before long a new director must be trained to take over when I can no longer do this. Therefore, we are seriously searching for someone to assume this responsibility. My optimistic thought is this: I was here when the need was urgent, so now there must surely be another person who would love to fill this need once more. Our entire staff is volunteer, and that, of course, includes the director. But fulfillment, satisfaction, and pure joy, cannot be bought with cash. And along with all that, this is a great challenge! Call me.

2006 Update

Look! I Can Swim
Photo by Jan Kennedy
How does a small fawn, raised in captivity, know it can swim? As Jan released her group of fawns, out of the opened gate and down the hill they bounded. Then, without hesitation, they leaped into the cooling waters of her pond! "Look! I can swim!" they seemed to shout. All but one. One early spring day, this four-pound, one-day-old male was rescued from a swimming pool where he had fallen and almost drowned. Four months later, he stood solidly on the shore and watched as the others plunged eagerly into Jan's pond. "Not for me!" he decided.

As wildlife habitat is rapidly lost, we find it necessary to install electric fence around all of our fawn enclosures that are scattered throughout the county. My friend, Tish, manager of Atwood Ranch in Glen Ellen spoke to Mr. Atwood, who generously loaned us his skilled ranch workers to build the fences higher and install the solar-powered protection for Cindy's Sebastopol pen.

Then a search began for help in building a completely new enclosure high in the hills of Cloverdale. The long trip to Cloverdale, and the difficult work on hilly terrain, made it impossible to find help. Then Fawn Rescue's Director of Education, Julie, offered a perfect solution.

Julie's son, Austin, a member of Glen Ellen Scout Troop #63, was preparing for his step-up to Eagle Scout and he offered to take charge of building our new enclosure and installing the electric fence. A big responsibility for an inexperienced Sonoma Valley High School student. We gratefully accepted this generous offer and Austin took charge. He coordinated his work with the property owner's son, David, and then lined up help from other Scouts in his troop. After many long, hot days of hard work, the posts were in, the fence attached, and the solar-power installed. And, behold, a perfect safe haven for four fawns waiting for Mary's experienced care. An irreplaceable gift from Austin, his parents, Julie & Tim, several young Scouts, Scoutmaster George, and David.  All of them deeply care about saving our vanishing wildlife and willingly stepped forward to put their commitment into action. Jan and Rob installed their own electric fence around their shelter, and now, plus Fawn Rescue’s two shelters, all of out fawn pens are fully protected. Our gratitude to everyone who made these safe shelters possible is boundless!

But now our friend and volunteer, Joe, after many years of dedication is selling his home, so we must locate another fawn-care site to be ready by the Spring of 2007. A large, remote area is needed where fawns can be raised wild. This is a four-month commitment, not year round as are most animal care projects. Let us know if you can help. This new enclosure is essential.

Our urgent need for a new director continues. Fawn Rescue provides a living and lasting gift to wildlife – and to Sonoma County. This is about the future welfare of these delicate creatures and the very existence of Fawn Rescue. We have proven the value of our program. Since all fawns come to us due to human interference, we, as volunteers, feel a deep obligation to correct this wrong by restoring them to health and returning them to their wild world where they belong. Salaries have never been our focus. We hope a salaried director is not the only answer. We will provide the training - you must provide the commitment to wildlife. Your support and continued interest makes this vital work possible.

2007 Update
Nesting Fawn
Nesting Fawn
Photo by Jan Kennedy

Fawn Rescue received 104 fawns last year, three of which were not releasable until the last day of November! This year we will have fawns into November again. A long year and a lot of fawns to make room for. But it is our policy never to refuse to accept a fawn in need of our help. Because of the nature of our rescues we must go to them. We continue to travel the county in response to your calls and somehow find room to care for each of them no matter what their needs. If they can recover, with the help of our caring vets and our competent volunteers, each fawn is given that chance. All are released, free to be wild. None are held captive for their lifetime.

Lives change, people move and we lose our shelters, but fawns keep coming and we must have a place to raise them. As the habitat shrinks, it becomes more difficult to find these ideal locations. Raising fawns is seasonal, not a year-round responsibility as are pets and farm animals. In four months fawns are gone. Not a lot to ask for keeping Sonoma County alive with beauty? We do need your help badly.

This spring the Petaluma Fire Department asked for our help in rescuing a stranded fawn off a barge at the river’s edge! This small fawn somehow managed to leap onto the barge, then could not get back off. Animal Regulation Officers Gwen and Shirley reached the scene before I did, captured the fawn with a net and held it safely in their truck until I arrived. Each year we are indebted to Animal Regulation for their expert and compassionate help. They have never refused. 

Most homeowners are not aware of some of the unusual hazards they introduce to wildlife. Wrought iron fences and gates are a treacherous trap for both fawns and adult deer. We are alerting the public to this danger and ask that they make sure their fences and gates have cross bars, or designs that have horizontal bars along the lower sections, which will prevent these animals from attempting to go through to the other side. The sharp top spikes can kill an animal attempting to leap over. We are more and more often called to extract deer that are caught and unable to pull free, often injuring themselves internally and externally during their frantic struggle. Please check your gate and fence. 

As founder and director of Fawn Rescue I am honored to have received two awards this year. One, a Resolution from the California State Joint Senate and Assembly for ‘unparalleled achievements and outstanding commitment to wildlife and the public,’ is the first such acknowledgment given to any wildlife rehabilitator in California. A giant step for Fawn Rescue and all of our volunteers who so willingly contribute to our goals. This award is a tribute to all who work for wildlife. Perhaps because of this recognition, caring for wildlife will be elevated to a higher rung of appreciation in the eyes of the public. The second award, from the American Red Cross ‘Real Heroes’ program, was given for the many meaningful years dedicated to the rescue, care and release of ill, orphaned, or injured fawns.

Our work requires specialized skills, hard work and dedication. We are in need of volunteers, individual sponsors, corporate sponsors and benefactors. Our work is a vital contribution to Sonoma County and to the State of California, and your caring makes this work possible.



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