Saturday, 5 July 2014

Foxy Tales

Wirral Wildlife member Les Roberts contacted us with some photos he had taken of foxes in his garden. We asked him if he would like to write a post for the blog...

Magpies are not everyone’s favourite bird but the one in this picture seemed less than enamoured with the young fox. We feed the birds with sunflower hearts which the fox, on recent mornings, has obviously found to be a nutritious granola alternative breakfast. The intelligent Magpie made it clear it was not happy with the intruder, or with having to wait for its own “petit dejeuner”.

The recent morning appearance of two young fox cubs in our garden, reminded us of a sequence of foxy events that occurred some years ago. Then, an enterprising vixen, unbelievably, climbed up inside our conifer hedge, flicked down three unfledged chicks from a nest and, jumping after them, took all three in her mouth and left the lawn at a leisurely pace.

Although upset we believed it to be useless and wrong to interfere. It made us aware though that the fox had cubs. We decided to leave out the odd titbit. To our surprise the vixen became quite tame. It did not leave the garden when we were in it and would even approach us if we took out food.

Now our actions may have been misguided. We certainly didn’t want the fox to be reliant on us, nor become too trusting of humankind, but we had started, we thought, so we had to finish.

The vixen remained in good condition and, some weeks later, brought to us what we took to be a vulpine thank you. She appeared with two, youngish, cubs; sat a little distance from them as they played and seemed unperturbed as we entered the garden to take photographs. The cubs were a bit nervous until they picked up on their mother’s calmness.

After that we did not see the mother again. The growing cubs did come into the garden on the odd occasion, not always looking in the best of condition. Eventually only one of them appeared and, after a few sightings, that animal too never returned.

Foxes are not now an unusual sight in urban areas but they face threats and are generally not long lived - motor traffic being a particular hazard. At the time we were rather sad ours had gone, although they may be screeching in a different territory at this very moment.  The garden conifers have also gone, replaced with a less height prone species, but, pleasingly for us, foxes are back. Two nervous young animals initially, now just the one. We don’t know for how long but, whilst it’s here, we will enjoy watching it – even if the birds begrudge sharing the sunflower hearts.

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