June 18, 2021

Deer and Dandelions

By: Sharon Bazant

Deer and Dandelions

June 18, 2021

Today, after finishing her important daily chores, Coral starts out on one of her favorite evening walks down the gravel road that passes by Rennwood Farm.

In the thick undergrowth on the side of the road, Coral spies a sweet spring surprise: a tiny fawn, just days old! Baby deer have incredibly strong instincts to drop and stay perfectly still when they sense the slightest danger, and this little fawn is hardly moving a muscle as Coral stops to take a quick look.

The fawn is so still, in fact, that Coral doesn’t even detect it breathing. However, she knows this is very normal behavior for a newborn deer.

Coral has recently seen a Whitetail doe with two fawns near Rennwood Farm, and she guesses this is one of the twins.

No doubt the mother deer is grazing somewhere nearby and will be back for the fawn within a couple of hours. Meanwhile, the fawn’s spots provide such good camouflage that most critters would walk right by without seeing the little creature laying there.

In fact, the other twin could be laying close by as well, practically invisible in the dappled shadows of the brush.

Not wanting to stress the resting fawn, Coral continues along the road towards a patch of tall yellow flowers growing in the sun.

The yellow flowers are known as Garden Yellow Rocket (Barbarea vulgaris). They are not native to Minnesota and are considered a “pest plant” that often grows along roadways.

Since Yellow Rocket is not a native plant, the farmer may come along soon and remove this clump from his land.

But Coral does enjoy the cheerfulness of the bright flowers and climbs on a stump to get a better look at the yellow blooms.

The farmer’s youngest son walks by on his way to finish evening chores, and he greets Coral as he passes.

Coral is great friends with the farmer’s children. Just like Coral, they too love the beauty of nature and all of the wild creatures living near Rennwood Farm.

As the farmer’s son goes on his way, and from her vantage point on the stump, Coral suddenly sees the tips of two ears sticking out from the tall grass near the road. The little fawn now stands alert, looking and listening for a moment.

She must have heard her mother’s call. With a wave of her little tail, the fawn runs towards a nearby tree, and, sure enough, out steps the doe.

Whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are shy. They like to spend time in the woods and tall grass, in secretive places. This little fawn and her mother sniff each other briefly, and then the other twin steps out of the brush as well.

Coral is glad to have seen the family together and watches as the doe nurses her twins before leading them into the trees.

The sun is low in the sky, and Coral should head home, but she can never resist a patch of dandelions gone to seed.

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are one of the most common and recognizable flowers. Coral looks forward to seeing them each spring and is grateful that the farmer leaves them to grow all over his farm.

Coral finds one especially interesting dandelion today. Two seeding flowers have fused together at the top. She wonders how the flowers grew to make this happen!

Did you know that dandelions are edible and extremely nutritious? Coral loves dandelion leaf salad and plans to to collect a few leaves for her evening meal.

It has been another beautiful evening on the farm, with wildlife to observe, golden sun and silvery flowers to enjoy, and a delicious dandelion leaf salad to look forward to. Coral rests happily for a moment in the warm spring grass, remembering all she has seen, while nearby, the fawn peeks at her from tall green weeds.

Goodnight, Coral, until the next adventure!

 

~ Have you ever eaten dandelion leaves or heads? Did you enjoy the taste?

~ Have you seen baby fawns with their mothers?

~ Whether you live in the country or the city, do you often see wild baby animals in the spring?

~ What is your favorite wild baby animal?

~ What is one wild animal you would like to see in person someday?

Resources to explore:

~ Learn more about Dandelions.

~ Learn more about Whitetail Deer.

~ Learn more about Garden Yellow Rocket.

About the Author

Sharon Bazant

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