Thursday, March 27, 2014

Four Years, Three Deer

I realized earlier tonight that today's date was significant because it's the fourth anniversary of our move into our current house.  It's hard to believe that by the time Thanksgiving hits, we'll have been in this house as long as we were in our other house.  That's still a while away, but I'd say these four years have gone much faster nonetheless!  That move was so crazy and so stressful (Craig had to work on moving day, remember?), but it was all with the purpose of getting a bigger, better house for our future family of four.  And now, four years later, here we are all settled in.  Well, we were here three years later, too, but now Carter is much more lively and it really makes it feel a lot more real, you know?  But oh, what a time that was.

In other news, we had quite the exciting day yesterday.  As I was getting ready for work, I looked outside because I noticed that my weather app said it was snowing.  As I looked around the backyard, I noticed a deer sitting by our swing set.  It's pretty rare to see a deer back there at all, even though we live a street away from a golf course.  I did see three come out from the side of the house last week, but it'd been months since I'd seen one before that.  As I looked further, I noticed something moving in front of her.  I realized it was a fawn...a very small fawn.  And in the time it took me to move to a different window to get a better look, the deer was standing up and another fawn just fell out of her!  So....yes.  A deer decided to have twin fawns in the middle of our backyard.  It was cold and snowing out, and this seemed early in the year for fawns.  I didn't realize how early until I looked it up later, but I figured this might not have been quite a planned delivery. 

I watched them all for a bit.  One fawn was trying to stand up, but the other one only lifted its head.
The fawn is in front trying to stand up
The fawn never quite got up.  It toppled over and then sat down to rest for a while.  In the meantime, the mom was tending to the other fawn, mostly just lots of licking.  By the time we were ready to leave for the day, she was still licking that fawn...only I noticed that that fawn didn't seem to be moving much.  The other one was still awake and moving around, but I was concerned that neither of them would make it through the day because it was so cold.  That concern intensified when suddenly the mom got up and left.  I found out later that it's normal for that to happen, but I think most of the time the babies are a little more protected and it's warmer.  Did I mention that normally fawns are born in late May?  Yeah, this deer was at best a month early, and probably closer to two.  Not good.

During the day I thought about the deer constantly, and ended up calling the DEC to see what their thoughts were.  They were surprised to hear about the birth and requested pictures.  They didn't have much advice if they were dead other than to move them to a place where they could decompose naturally or double bag them and throw them out.  I didn't like either of those options, but I didn't know for sure what we'd be facing until I got home.

Sure enough, once I got home I discovered the sad truth.  Both fawns had passed away.  I got a closer look to take pictures for the DEC, and I had mixed emotions looking at them.  On one hand they were dead animals on my property.  On the other they were the most beautiful, perfect creatures and it was so sad to see them there, knowing how alive they were in the morning and seeing them like that afterward.  I'd post a picture here but it's a little depressing despite the beauty.  The DEC has sent my pictures off to other deer biologists in the state for them to marvel at the craziness of deer born two months early.

Ever since I've been trying to figure out what to do about them.  I called a couple taxidermists and one was interested, but I haven't heard back.  I may try another one tomorrow.  I'm worried about them starting to decompose or other animals getting to them, but I don't really want to have to scoop them up either.  It's not like a squirrel or mouse.  These things are big and they have long, gangly legs.  I'd really hate for their beauty to go to waste, so I really wish someone could take them. 

And in case you're wondering, Jacob got to see them when they were alive, and he did find out they had died.  He was sort of obsessed with it for a while, in fact.  We didn't let him see them, though.  We did find out he had some interesting ideas about death and what happens after.  He actually said something about wanting to go into the backyard to watch them go to heaven.  That was a new one.  Guess we have some work to do on that. 

So...we'll see how this ends up.  Everyone on Facebook has been remarking how sad it is, and it is...though it's nature, I guess.  But why did it have to happen in our backyard?

Hopefully I'll have another update on other things soon. We're still working through some stuff with Carter's illness, and hopefully getting closer to getting Jacob in with the behavioral specialist.  More soon...

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