New Posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- er generally

Saturday, August 17, 2013

growing up and out








 
Finally two weeks ago I got one of all five foxes. The parents are the clearest and you can tell the babies by shorter snout. Coloring is now like their parents. What appears to be a bubble is because in shooting through our fence, the sun reflected in dots of light and hence that almost painterly effect.

We think the fox family has moved which is what they needed to do once their three little ones began looking more and more like the adults. We watched them for weeks as the babies would play with games honing the skills they would need to get their own food. The last photo that we got of all five was maybe a week before we think they moved to another area.

We've seen the adults watch a rodent hole for hours. We've seen the rodents around the barns act more jumpy-- with good reason. We worried that the farm didn't have enough rodents to support five adult foxes -- who will also be breeding eventually. We knew we were supplementing their food by our birdseed which we now keep out of the fenced yards and by the blueberries; so sheep don't eat it but the foxes could. We began to do less of that as the babies grew closer to being self-sufficient.

If they had to head south from here into neighboring fields, that's where the young coyotes are growing up, where we hear them yelping at night. They have to eat too, and sometimes they kill foxes who are so much smaller. I've written about it before-- a predator's life is not an easy one.

Their temporary home was under what used to be my mother's mobile home. It's across the garden and a small field from our house. We kept it there for years because her feral cats needed it for protection as a place to live out their lives. When the last one of those died, I wanted to find a way to get it off the property; but now, weather-beaten though it is after years with no one living there, under it provided a temporary haven for our foxy neighbors. It couldn't be permanent.

We are also considering keeping it and repairing the floor, making it more secure and Farm Boss would eventually use it for his lab when he no longer wants to work from town. We had permission to keep it as a studio which is what that would equivalently be. If the foxes have moved, they will be happier than if they hung around and had to listen to construction overhead-- though they did not mind living under our porch for those weeks of small babies.

I guess the lesson here is enjoy the moment, and our time sharing a piece of land with the foxes was beautiful. The future is uncertain for us all and most of all for small predators. For awhile I worried about their future but once the babies became near adults, it seemed to free me from concerns. It's time for them to move on, and I was then ready for them to do it. We don't want foxes on welfare here-- that could turn very unpleasant when the next generation bred...

12 comments:

Mark said...

Those are interesting shots. They look different from the fox family we have living near us. Our mama fox has a permanently crippled front leg, but seems to get around OK. Her babies are nearly as large as she is. We have seen what we think are the same foxes for at least a couple of years, so we have been assuming the mama at least will stay and the babies will leave. She ate the cat food so we started leaving dog food out for her, but now with all of the family eating dog food, we have decided it's best to stop. We hope the youngsters get the hint and move on to their own territories. I'm going to post on our blog soon about our decision.

Annie said...

Great photos. Wonderful opportunities you have to watch this kind of wildlife. Based on a dream I had as a child, I feel a special affinity for foxes.

Rain Trueax said...

It's a tough choice to make, Mark. They are so cute and I liked them for neighbors. ... if a person could put birth control pills in their food maybe ;)

Wednesday I'll post the little video of them playing when the babies were smaller. We got that into one and it's the only one we ever took because here they were too far away to make a good video without extreme telephoto which I was too shaky to do and the times were always iffy when they'd be there and gone. Not like they operated on any schedule. I do though have well over a hundred photos-- most of which aren't that great but I really wanted to try to capture what I saw. They are so beautiful, innocent looking, and playful

Florence said...

Oh Rain, they are so beautiful!! We have a raccoon family that we have been watching as they reared their offspring. They are fairly well grown now. It has been so hot here that they rest in the birdbath and then drape themselves across a tree branch and drip dry.
Love your fox pictures!

Celia said...

Thanks for the update I wondered how the fox family was doing. I've been sharing your pictures/blog with my grandkids. Fascinating.

robin andrea said...

It's always a good ending to the story when the family moves on. Everyone grown up and healthy, and ready to make a life for themselves. Our neighbors had a fox family living under their deck the first year we moved here. They thoroughly enjoyed watching the kits grow up. Then, the family was gone.

They are really beautiful.

Ingineer66 said...

That is so cool. Until they start destroying too much of your stuff then you have a delimna.

Rain Trueax said...

Exactly. You can never forget they are predators-- cute ones but predators none the less which is why the cats stay behind the fences these days! I think the foxes are gone but...

OldLady Of The Hills said...

What a very special time you have had with The Fox Family! I love that you documented all you could---and that you got to watch the babies as they learned their survival skills....a Very Sweet experience, in my view.

They have such sweet faces!!!

Hattie said...

What a wonderful and charming family! It is nice to think of wildlife going on like this, even in our crowded world.

Rain Trueax said...

A lot of our world isn't crowded. If I walked out my backdoor and headed west, I could go over the hills and avoid any humans until I got to the ocean around 30 miles away as the crow files. When you fly over the US, you see that while there are places with lots of humans all jammed together, there are still a lot of wide open spaces. People just want all the more 'desirable' spots.. fortunately.

Ingineer66 said...

If the world's population all lived in the density of Manhattan we could all live in an area the size of Texas. Not that any of us would actually want to live in Texas, but we could all fit. Unfortunately too many of us want to live in California. I want about half of them to go somewhere else, but mostly the ones leaving are the ones that want to work and the slackers are sticking around.