Video: Motorist Captures Video of Doe Nudging Fawn to Safety

While watching this doe nudge her newborn fawn up and away from the road, also take a look at the fawn's response to danger. Typically, these behaviors are an instinctive response to nearby predators.

Video: Motorist Captures Video of Doe Nudging Fawn to Safety

A newborn fawn appeared to be hunkered down in the middle of a Port Orchard highway in Washington state before its mother walked in front of an idling motorist and nudged the fawn to move along.

The motorist Jessie Larson captured the footage from her car and posted it to her Facebook page, according to the Huffington Post. “Mama came out and encouraged baby to get (up) and walk,” she wrote.

You can view the video here.

Typically fawns in Washington state are born in late spring to mid-summer and — judging by the uncertainty the fawn has in its own legs — it’s safe to say the fawn is a newborn.

In the video, the fawn appears to simply want a good nap, oblivious that the road isn’t the best choice. And the nap would be typical of a newborn fawn. According to Quality Deer Management Association, “for the first seven to 10 days of life, a fawn will spend up to 95 percent of its time bedded.”

But, while naps are a top priority for newborns, this fawn was more likely hungered down due to fear. If you look closely, you can see the fawn's head is very still, it stays down and its ears are dropped.  These are response behaviors when a fawn senses anger. In these situations, a newborn's heart rate will also drop from a typical, but very rapid, 175 beats per minute to around 60 beats per minute. Another response to danger is a fawn’s breathing, which becomes slower and deeper. These efforts are made instinctively to avoid detection by predators.

Whitetail Journal magazine recently posted research on survival rates of fawns in the United States:

There have been numerous studies over the years offering some idea of a fawn’s survival rate. More recently, these studies have increased, especially in states where whitetail deer are prevalent and in the South where fawn survival rates continue to decline. One of the most recent studies on deer in Pennsylvania showed a 52 percent survival out to 10 weeks. Of all the collared fawns killed, three were eaten by black bears, three by bobcats, one by a coyote, one by a dog, three from unknown predators (DNA results pending), five from natural mortality and one by car.

Other studies had varying results. As reported by Whitetail Journal: A North Carolina study showed only 5 of 27 collared fawns (18.5 percent) made it to 16 weeks. Fifteen of the 22 mortalities were caused by coyotes or bobcats and 55 percent of the mortality occurred the first week of life.

Two Alabama studies showed a 33 and 31 percent fawn survival out to 16 weeks, which isn’t good. A Georgia study showed a 29 percent survival and a South Carolina study showed a 22 percent survival of fawns. Even worse.

Things aren’t as bad further North, although coyote numbers are increasing there. In Ohio, a relatively recent study showed coyotes were responsible for 19 percent of mortality. Natural causes claimed 22 percent and in many cases most of those in the natural death category died from starvation.

One critical factor in declining fawn survival rates is the increase in predation. For the first time in the past 100 years, we have a myriad of predators in the eastern half of the United States.


Featured Photo: Screen shot from a video provided by Jessie Larson (Facebook)


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