OUT­DOORS

Maryland Independent - - Sports -

which makes it even sim­pler to keep track of what I’ve seen and quickly and eas­ily sub­mit my tally.

And lo­cally, the South­ern Mary­land Audubon So­ci­ety is hold­ing its own bird count on May 14 as well. The same in­for­ma­tion is wanted, and you can find out more and how sub­mit your tal­lies to the re­gional co­or­di­na­tors by go­ing to

www.som­daudubon.org and click­ing on May 14 un­der up­com­ing events. All back­yard bird­ers, even begin­ners, from Calvert, Charles, Prince Ge­orge’s, and St. Mary’s coun­ties are in­vited to par­tic­i­pate.

If you don’t have a bird­feeder at home or you want to get out­side and do some ex­plor­ing while count­ing birds, any of the pub­lic parks are good places to start. The South­ern Mary­land Audubon So­ci­ety has a free guide on its web­site

with lo­cal hotspots and a check­list of birds. Where there is wa­ter, there will be birds. If you live in a rel­a­tively ur­ban area, check out the drainage ponds near lo­cal shop­ping malls and hous­ing de­vel­op­ments where great blue herons and red-winged black­birds are com­mon sights.

Car­ing for baby deer

This is the time of year when my dad would write a pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment

urg­ing peo­ple who find baby deer to leave them where they’re found. And that was good ad­vice. In May and June, many fawns are found curled up in the field or for­est alone, with no doe in sight. It may look like an or­phaned fawn, but this is al­most cer­tainly never the case.

Baby deer ap­pear small and help­less, which they ba­si­cally are. And the mother deer will some­times leave her fawn alone for up­wards of 12 hours

at a stretch, but that’s the way na­ture in­tended it. The fawn is rel­a­tively scent­less, well-cam­ou­flaged and quiet, so the mother stays away to keep preda­tors from find­ing her baby. She re­turns to nurse pe­ri­od­i­cally and move the fawn to a new safe spot. She’ll do this for about three weeks un­til the fawn is phys­i­cally able to keep up with her as she for­ages for food.

Un­for­tu­nately, even well-in­ten­tioned peo­ple can find and re­move fawns from the wild un­nec­es­sar­ily, es­sen­tially kid­nap­ping the baby deer. The only time hu­mans should in­ter­vene is when the fawn is vis­i­bly in­jured, cry­ing non­stop for sev­eral hours, or has flies or fly eggs cov­er­ing its body, and then the deer must be taken to a li­censed Mary­land wildlife re­ha­bil­i­ta­tor. It is il­le­gal to keep and raise a deer in cap­tiv­ity. The best place for wild an­i­mals is in the wild.

jamiedrake­out­doors@ out­look.com

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