Sept. 23, 2012: An hour ago I was delighted to finally see the doe and fawns that I know have been visiting our backyard. Mostly I just see their big poop and little poop. About ten days ago our house guest, Jack Gilchrist, saw the doe and two fawns in the yard at first light. Each morning since I look for them, but never see them ... until now.
About 5 PM I spot the doe, a black-tailed deer, and one fawn checking to see if they can reach any apples. They’ve already eaten the easy ones. Then the two walk over to the blackberries and spook three white cabbage butterflies .... so pretty! It takes me awhile to find the second fawn. I sense something is wrong. It lies under my concord grapes, its sides heaving. I even make a light remark to Dale she must be having a bad dream about being chased.
Back to my cooking for a moment and then I look again. A turkey vulture has landed in a nearby tree and the fawn lies still! I doubt five minutes has elapsed. That vulture must have known the fawn was dying!
The doe approaches her still fawn, but only to within about ten feet. The vulture flies off. I’m not sure if the doe spooked the vulture, or if I did. I think the vulture spotted me looking out the window. The doe leaves.
Half an hour later the vulture lands on the low bough again ... and fifteen minutes after that it drops to the ground and approaches the fawn. I catch a glimpse of the other fawn peering around by blackberry clump. The doe must be back there too.
Soon a second vultures arrives and both start pulling and tugging on vulnerable parts of the carcass. Darkness comes soon. One vulture stays until it is almost too dark to watch.
7:20 AM: First vulture arrives. It barely has time to get serious about eating, when Lucy, the neighbor’s black lab, arrives. Darn! I don’t know why the fawn died Lucy shouldn’t be there. I quickly shoo her home and telephone her owner. They’ll keep her home.
Next I telephone the Public Works Department to see if the city will remove the fawn. They have two suggestions: Either have a neighbor with a pickup take the fawn to the dump or drag it to the street and they’ll pick it up sometime next week. The dump won’t be open for three days and I really don’t think to dumping it in the street is a solution. I live in a residential area.
I ponder on the problem. Years ago Dale and I would have just thrown a tarp in the van and hauled the fawn off to some isolated spot ... but right now neither of us are up to lifting it. Even the vultures are gone since Lucy spooked them an hour ago. .... No they aren’t! I step outside to take a look and spook several vultures out of our trees.
9:50 AM I look out my kitchen window again. Nine turkey vultures, no 10, no 11...12. One is on the shed, two on the fence, I can hear one shift his feet on the deck roof above me, one flies past, but most are on the ground next to the fawn. Maybe we won’t have to worry about having someone come to remove the fawn. The vultures are going to do it for us.