Natural Sightings #651 - California Mule Deer Fawn.jpg

A California Mule Deer fawn visits Bear Valley Springs.

Cheryl Sigler took this photo in Bear Valley Springs of a California Mule Deer fawn.

California Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus californicus) fawns are typically born in June or July in the Tehachapi Mountains, and retain their white spots for most of the summer and fall, until these markings fade and the growing young deer become the grayish tan color of their parents.

Fawns weigh from 5 to 10 pounds at birth, with singletons (only one baby born) generally weighing more than twins. Mature does often produce twins during good conditions when there is ample feed available, and in those years, the percentage of twins may be slightly higher than the number of single births.

Under adverse conditions, when the does are malnourished, as much as 75 percent of the births will be singletons instead of twins. Triplets are always rare, and even under the best conditions represent only about three percent of births. Triplets are mainly born to does that are four years or older.

Despite the drought, California Mule Deer in the Tehachapi area seem to have produced a fair number of twins this year. The abundance of irrigated lawns, yards and gardens throughout the area do help insulate our local deer populations from drought to some extent, and various sources like bird baths, ponds and water tubs also reduce water insecurity for does and their fawns.

The Nuwä (Kawaiisu or Southern Paiute) word for deer is tühui, pronounced tuh-HOO-ee, and the word for fawn is maahuuzi, pronounced mah-HOO-zee.

NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: editorial@tehachapinews.com.

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