Recently we noticed a deer family in our driveway that included the smallest baby deer we’d ever seen. I would guess it had been born within a couple of days.
The parents (or elders, anyway) seemed to urge it to go up the hill with them into the wooded area by our house. But they traveled much more swiftly, leaving the baby deer to take a few wobbly steps on its own, before collapsing from the effort beneath a safe, shady tree.
I was able to get pretty close as it lay there. I moved slowly and tried not to rattle it.
When our daughter was 2 and ready to shed her pacifiers, we told her they were needed by the new baby deer who were born in the spring, and she came with us to leave a bag out for them. I watched this little deer as it heaved the deep breaths of a newborn, its spotted coat moving up and down, and I thought, he could probably use a pacifier.
At some point he gamely took another couple of steps, then lay back down. I was glad he felt safe enough to stay in his little spot. When I came back from some errands, he was gone. I saw an adult deer nearby, which I took as a good sign that the deer family had come back for this little one and were watching out for one another. I figure we’ll watch this baby deer grow up, even though deer grow so fast, we may never be sure which one let me watch (and record) its first steps.