May brings more than spring flowers; it also brings new four-legged additions to the Oak Bay landscape…and often the roadways.
Oak Bay’s Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society reminds residents that spring is fawning season, meaning it’s time to be extra cautious as you drive, cycle and explore.
1. If you find a fawn, leave it alone. Its mother is likely off finding food and will return. Does shelter their young from predators, leaving for long periods to forage, then returning for the fawn to suckle. For the first few weeks, she may feed and sleep a considerable distance from the fawn to reduce the chance of attracting a predator.
Wildlife rehabilitation centres field numerous calls each spring from people who have found an “orphaned” fawn, but typically advise residents to leave it alone – the mother is likely nearby and will return once you leave.
2. When to call WildArc: DO call WildArc if the fawn appears cold, weak, thin, injured, is bleating repetitively, or if the mother has not returned to a seemingly healthy fawn for more than eight hours.
Never remove a fawn on your own. If you’ve handled the animal, rub an old towel on the grass, then gently wipe the fawn down with it to remove human scent.
3. Reduce your chance of colliding with a deer: Slow down and scan ahead – good advice for all areas populated by children, pets and urban wildlife like deer! Keep your eyes on high alert, especially at night, and remember, deer are rarely alone – others may follow behind or dart into your path. Young deer, especially fawns, may not recognize vehicles as a threat, and regardless of age, headlights can confuse and cause deer to freeze or act unpredictably.
To get a deer awareness sign to post in your community, contact UWSS.
If a deer collision is imminent, brake lightly, holding the steering wheel firmly while keeping the vehicle straight. Don’t swerve to try to miss the deer – insurance adjusters say more damage and injury occurs when drivers attempt to avoid colliding with a deer and instead hit guardrails or roll down grades. Slow down in areas where you know there are deer!
What’s coming up for UWSS:
- After fitting 20 does with tracking collars this winter, the UWSS is on track for the next step of its efforts, pending government approval: administering a contraceptive to gradually stabilize and reduce the overall deer population. This will be an ongoing process over the next two years, along with collecting valuable data.
- Join the Father’s Day Garden Party Tour, featuring eight beautiful Oak Bay spaces, ranging from a native plant garden to an expansive Uplands acreage. The tour runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 17, and tickets are $25 each, with proceeds supporting both Wild ARC and UWSS.