On my way back from an emergency pie run tonight, I got a text from Rae. "Stay out of the driveway! Baby deer!"
I parked the car on the street and entered the house like I was planning to rob it and she brought me up to speed.
There is a large park next door to us, which shares a fencerow of trees with our yard. We see deer on both sides of the fence. Tonight, a doe with a fawn that could only have been a few hours old was on the park side of the trees.
Just around dusk, someone's dog ran loose the park barking and spooked mama deer, who bolted for our yard, followed -- at a constantly increasing distance -- by the fawn on its wobbly little legs.
Baby deer ran out of energy a few steps into our yard and bleated desperately for its mom.
Mom overcame her fear, stopped, and turned around for her fawn.
That's when one of the neighboring houses emptied half a dozen people into the yard to squeal and take pictures. As mama deer turned tentatively away, they started yelling at her to come back, which spooked her and made her bolt again.
Leaving the little fawn behind, quiet, trembling, near some bushes.
Because the deer regularly eat from our bird feeder, Rae quickly went and got the birdseed and tiptoed out to refill it. By that time, neither the neighbors nor the fawn were anywhere to be seen.
As soon as Rae went inside, mama deer returned and paced around our yard where the fawn had last been. Then she went over to the feeder and ate all the seed while she continued to scan the area for her baby.
More than a half hour has passed. Dusk has turned to darkness. Mama deer stood silently by the fencerow, forlorn, looking for her fawn until I couldn't see her any more in the shadows. Perhaps she's standing there still now.
And no sign of baby deer. We wonder if maybe the neighbors scooped it up and took it inside. We're hoping for a happy end to this story, but right now we just don't know.