This week, my Facebook page was flooded with pictures of baby deer. Some posts, which declared the small fawn in the photo abandoned, were misinformed (fawns are often left alone while its mother forages for food). Others knew exactly what they had found: a newborn animal who was patiently waiting for the return of its parent.

One post in particular, however, stood out above the rest. "For the past 6 years we’ve had a baby deer dropped off in our yard", read the caption. The included photo showed one of the smallest fawns I'd even seen, and led me to wonder... what makes a mother deer choose a specific yard to leave their baby?

Photos of fawns hiding in grass
It's the time of year to see fawns hiding in New York yards (epantha /KenCanning via Canva)

The Facebook post was far from unique. Many other commenters chimed in to share that they, too, had been trusted by a mother doe year after year to "watch" over her young. Similar to building houses for local birds or bug hotels to encourage native insect populations, there are steps you can take to make your property more appealing to a mother doe when she's looking for a spot to leave her young.

A baby deer laying in tall grass
Baby deer will often choose long grass as a hiding place while their mother looks for food (scampdesigns via Canva)

Baby Deer Hide in Tall Grass

A fawn's best protection is its ability to hide. While a fawn's brown hair helps them blend in with the forest floor, they are also often found laying in tall grass (above). Letting your lawn grow long until fawns are old enough to join their mother (usually after the month of June), could attract a mother deer and her baby.

A fawn hiding on a forest floor
Fawns are also found hiding in forests where green vegetation grows (Leon Kiss via Canva)

Perfect Forest Conditions for Baby Deer

If you have wooded land on your property, consider clearing some trees with a large overstory (sun-blocking leaves) in several locations. The New York Almanack reports that allowing more sunlight to penetrate your forest will allow smaller plants to grown and can create better camouflage for a fawn (as well as provide a food source).

The Right Conditions to Host a Baby Deer

A mother deer will want the highest chance of survival for her fawn, so other environmental conditions, like busy roads, loud neighbors, and household pets should all be taken into consideration as well. If your yard is patrolled by a large dog, for instance, chances are low that it will be a contender when deer are looking for a hiding spot.

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I Found a Baby Deer: What Should I Do?

The general rule if you find a fawn is simple: leave it alone. Unless obviously injured (in which case you should call a professional), fawns should be only observed from a distance in order to ensure a timely return of its mother.

Two Day Old Fawn Experiencing Life in the Adirondacks for the 1st Time

Rare Albino Deer Appearing in Western New York

Have you ever seen one of the white albino deer in Western New York?

Gallery Credit: Rob Banks