Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Animal Signs

We have a resident fox. In the fall, I saw the fox (and others) frequently - in the winter hardly at all.  I glimpsed him once running at the shore while I was on the treadmill one morning.  That's it.

His footprints are everywhere, though.  Now, I'm calling our fox a him, but in fact he might be a her.  I really don't know.

This area is prime environment for foxes because of the old farm fields across the road.  At time of year, foxes are denning up and mating.  Happy Valentine's day indeed.

There is also plenty of evidence around of fox food!  Besides my compost, which he has visited, there are plenty of rodents scurrying about under and on top of the snow.  They tunnel about and pop up every now and again, tracing lines across the snow.

Watching a fox work a snowy field is a magical sight.  It looks like playing, and it sometimes is.

A couple of years ago I was at school late for a meeting.  Night had fallen, and I was sitting in my classroom, gazing out the window at the perfect snow illuminated by the moon.  My old classroom windows faced a forest, and one of the kids had left a soccer ball out in the field.  All of a sudden, a fox appeared seemingly out of nowhere, at first working the field for mice, and then playing with the ball.  It was amazing.  He would pounce on the ball and then race around the play structure like a crazed puppy.  This went on for about five minutes and as soon as it had started, he was gone back into the forest. 

I look everyday to see what our fox is up to, and I can't wait to see what spring brings.  Someday soon, if I can manage to sneak away, I'd love to walk the fields across the road and find the den...or dens.

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