Week of July 18 – July 24, 2021
by Becky Wilson, Environmental Educator
Summer is a time of new life bursting forth in nature and the woods echo with the sound of children having fun! It’s not just human children enjoying the warm weather, baby animals are also out and about. There are moments when I spot a young animal and while observing the way they behave or something the parent does, it reminds me of a moment with my own children. When we take the time to observe nature we can find so many similarities to our own lives and sometimes it can trigger a memory or lend us some wisdom.
I love catching sight of a new fawn, with its long, stilted legs, ears too large for its head, and white-spotted coat. I sometimes see them in the early morning or evenings, learning to walk and then run through the fields, their mothers close behind. During the day, deer mamas will leave their fawns hidden in fields or the forest while they go forage, just until the fawn is strong enough to keep up. Though she doesn’t go too far away, she does want to make sure she is far enough to lead any predators away, returning at night to feed and move her fawn to another safe space. When I see a doe with multiple fawns, I am reminded of the power of patience!
Another young animal you might see leaping through the fields are fox kits. I remember seeing a couple kits in the field near Baltimore Woods one summer. They were chasing each other and rolling around, reminding me of kids playing tag! You may even get to see them practicing their pouncing technique as they learn to hunt for their own food. Another summer there was a raccoon family nesting in a hollowed out tree on the Valley Trail. The babies were curious and eager to come out while the mother attempted to pull them back into the safety of their home. It was a familiar sight, wrangling young ones that don’t want to listen!
Though these sightings of fawns and kits can be rare, many of us have seen baby birds. Even in the height of summer birds are still busy raising their chicks, many having multiple broods within the warm seasons! It’s harder to spot nests now that the foliage has overtaken the trees, but sometimes you can hear the peeps or see a bird fly into a small shrub leading you in to take a peek. The parents work tirelessly to ensure their young are protected and fed, much like we do with our little ones!
Summer seems to be over in a blink of an eye. Take the time to notice the youth in nature whether human or animal, and enjoy the moments for they are gone much too quickly! Have you observed a baby animal out in nature? Share with us by emailing [email protected]. If you are concerned about a baby animal you can report it to your local rehabilitation office or by calling the NYSDEC