Wildlife Wednesday-A New Hunter Emerges

 

WORD OF WARNING:  There is a photo in this post that some people may not like, but I included it because it is part of the story and it is nature.

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 “Hungry for beautiful words, the fox comes rooting around in the hedge, almost too close to the fire. He reads my mind with one glance and is gone….. He understands being alive for as long as he can be, and does not worry about why, or what might happen afterwards.” 
― Jay Woodman

 

 

We have had foxes in and about our garden since we moved here.  But one who captured our hearts for the past several years, who we named Axl, is visible from time to time throughout the seasons.  He is a beauty and I wrote about him at Beautiful Wildlife GardenThe Fantastic Mr. Fox.

In February we spied two foxes hanging about so we were hopeful for a few kits.   And what joy, when we heard in spring thatDSCN9337 indeed kits (baby foxes) were seen right across the street although we never saw them and they did not come our way.  Then one morning in June we saw a fox in our back gardens which are fenced in.  We have never seen a fox inside the four foot fence before.  And he skedaddled over the fence when I saw him, and didn’t hang about.  He didn’t look like Axl or the female fox as a matter of fact he was a bit on the scrawny side.  

Then one morning in early July we spied a pair of foxes running about the open meadow looking for a meal.  We were used to their hunting habits, and welcomed them to find mice or voles as mice get into the house especially in winter, and the voles wreaks havoc in the garden.  What we didn’t expect was to see one of them jumping the fence (again) back near the right corner of the garden.  And before we knew it he was running around in what appeared to be circles for a few minutes.  Then it became clear he had found something that he was chasing and hunting.

As we watched from indoors, we had no idea what he had until he emerged smiling and proud with a bundle that he dropped back by the gazebo (that’s our little guy in the picture at the top of the post….isn’t he a doll).  I could not imagine what he found, but I knew by looking at him through my camera lens that this was not Axl, but a very young juvenile fox perhaps just out on his own finding one of his first meals.

DSCN9333But what had he found…it was not until he picked it up in his mouth that I knew it was a baby bunny.  A baby bunny!  Oh my where did that come from…and as the words were hanging in a little bubble over my head I heard my husband say, ‘Oh I forgot to tell you that I ran into a baby bunny the other day in the garden’.  Well not anymore.  And while we were sad for the bunny, we could not feel anything but admiration for this proud young fox as he had captured a big meal.  And just like that he jumped over the fence and was gone not sharing his meal with his sibling.

Of course if there was one baby bunny in the yard, could there be more.  And yes indeed there was one more, but her story is for another time.  So far she is safe and growing in our wildlife garden.

DSCN9970But back to our fox.  We have spied him at other times inside the fence finding voles (good boy-see his head peeking out from the flowers).  And he is often hanging about the meadow as he seems to have settled here finding many more meals.  

 

 

 

 

Not long ago on a rainy day, I saw a wonderful site.  It was Axl sitting on top of a mound of dirt covered by a tarp back in the meadow.  And with DSCN2400him was his son, our new fox that we named Hunter.  A perfect name for him as he is one of the best hunters we have seen.

Now I know some folks may be upset by the picture and story about the hunting of the baby bunny, but as I said at the top of the post, it is part of the story and part of nature which can be brutal at times.  Frankly I would rather have the wild fox or a hawk capture the bunny for a meal than the neighborhood cats who are allowed to roam about.  They will torment and kill it for sport but not eat it as we have seen them do with many critters.

And we knew when we moved here, that we would be exposed to lots of DSCN9976wildlife as the area bordering our property is a designated ‘forever wild area’ that is protected by our Department of Environmental Conservation.  So we built a garden that is more conducive to wildlife.  No chemicals, lots of native plants for food and shelter, and privacy where we try not to meddle in their lives, but observe wildlife from the perfect spot inside our house.

I plan to bring you more wildlife stories from our many experiences here in our wildlife garden.  As an aside, I am no longer writing for Beautiful Wildlife Garden (BWG) as I could not find time now that I have my new blog, Living From Happiness.  And with leaving BWG, I have a backlog of wildlife posts to write.  So I am joining in with the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  Please check them both out.

 

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To survive
we’d all turn thief
and rascal, or so says the fox,
with her coat of an elegant scoundrel,
her white knife of a smile,
who knows just where she’s going…
― Margaret AtwoodMorning in the Burned House

 

 

 

I hope you will join me in celebrating the new season coming soon to your part of the world.  

Just write a post between now and September 21st.   Leave a link with your comment on the kick-off post of Seasonal Celebrations-Autumn’s Blessings. I will include your link in my summary post on September 22nd.  

  

I am collaborating with Beth@Plant Postings and her Lessons Learned meme at this same time.  What lessons have you learned this past season of summer here in the North and winter in the South.  Write a separate post or combine your lessons with your celebrations in one post.

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Next up on the blog:   Monday will be another In A Vase On Monday.  And I have a blog anniversary coming up next week.  Four years.  Wow.

I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.

 

 

 

96 comments

  1. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    cannot be squeamish when it comes to the natural world – cats with birds make me cross, as with foxes in henhouses. Lovely shots Donna of your new hunter. p.s. we have foxes in our urban square but mostly they slink away into the shadows

  2. Pam's English Garden says:

    I enjoyed your fox story, Donna. We have foxes in the fields around us, but I’ve never been able to capture beautiful pictures like yours. Our foxes are the reason we no longer have chickens. This pains me, as I miss them dearly. P. x

    • Donna says:

      Oh Randy those rabbits are devils in the garden. I have had to chase many out when they get too close and then net the gardens to keep them and the deer out. Good to have those natural predators to keep nature in check.

  3. Island Threads says:

    lovely story and photos Donna, when I had cats one was a good hunter of birds if he brought one back he didn’t get supper from me but was put with the bird as I felt it’s death was not to be in vain, unfortunately it as natural for the domestic cat as the wild cat to hunt, there are no foxes on the island which is one reason for the problem across the island with rabbits very few predators of rabbits,
    having the wildlife area near you sounds really nice and I imagine would have drawn you to live there, I think it is so nice of you to enhance it by planting for wildlife, a pity some of you neighbours don’t follow your good example, Frances

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Frances for your wonderful comment and how you dealt with your cat who was a hunter. You are correct that the wild area behind us was the main reason we bought the land and house here. And why we view nature as special as we try to be good neighbors with our wildlife.

  4. Judith @ Lavender Cottage says:

    The kind of story I like to read Donna. It’s not a good thing when the eco system is out of whack which is what has happened where I live. Our country pocket village has had so much construction of new homes that the predators have moved further away from us leaving a bunny population that is out of control. I long to see foxes again like I used to and a young fellow with a baby bunny in his mouth merely shows he’s a good hunter and the food chain is working.
    I loved reading this and your photos are sweet of the named foxes. 😉

    • Donna says:

      So glad you enjoyed our critter story Judith. I was thrilled when the developer here was keeping wild areas and it was why we moved here. It helps to not completely develop an area so wildlife still has some space too.

  5. austinagrodolce says:

    So good to have you joining Wildlife Wednesday. There are wonderful photos. I used to catch glimpses of suburban foxes trotting across the roads when I was driving early in the mornings, but with so much renovation construction and the incursion of coyote to our area, the foxes have either become more cautious about their travels or potentially moved further out, away from the noise and competition.

    • Donna says:

      I am thrilled to finally join in. The coyotes were here for a bit when we first moved in but they have moved to more remote areas and the foxes stayed.

  6. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    What a great tale! (He does have a beautiful tale.) I would much rather see a fox eat (and appreciate) a baby bunny than a stray(?) cat kill a bird or chipmunk. I certainly would have welcomed a fox last year to thin my rabbit herd (this year barely a one – must be the cat). What a thrill for you Donna and I bet you’re hoping Hunter curbs those voles!

  7. Tina says:

    Wow!! That’s so exciting to have foxes in your neighborhood. Your photos are magnificent and what a beautiful story–I hope it continues and you can write about these beautiful foxes again. We had foxes in our urban neighborhood for several years. I only saw them late at night or early in the mornings, but others saw them during the day, on occasion. Alas, I haven’t seen any this year. Thank you for joining in with Wildlife Wednesday and your excellent post!

  8. Alison says:

    Great pictures and post! I’m glad to hear the foxes in your area appear to be thriving, and I hope they do manage to make a good dent in the vole population where you are. I remember your posts from late winter/early spring showing the destruction they wreaked on your garden over the winter. The picture of the fox carrying its prize didn’t bother me. I used to have outdoor cats who hunted and ate everything they killed. I lament the wildlife destruction I see at the side of the road from us humans driving our cars a lot more than I ever did the animals my cats killed and ate. (I don’t have outdoor cats now, just one indoor kitty).

  9. Alexa T says:

    First of all, Thank you kindly for your visit on my blog! Related to the post: I think this story is such an incredible adventure captured in special photo instants… to have “wildlife stories” right from your garden… to have as a neighbor a family of foxes…. Wow!
    Have a great week ahead!

  10. Michelle RW says:

    I couldn’t look, think is a hard time for me with the anniversary of my Mother’s cancer and then my own and I am teary as it is so please forgive me…. Yes it is nature…I just have seen enough of it recently..Michelle

    • Donna says:

      I completely understand and respect your feelings which is why I put up a warning. If you want a copy of the pst without the one picture to read and enjoy, I can send it to you.

  11. Mary says:

    I love your photos and story! So great that you are able to see such wildlife in your garden! Sorry for the baby bunny but that´s nature!

    • Donna says:

      Yes Mary we were sad to see the baby bunny dead as it was quite a surprise…we are very fortunate indeed here to have so much wildlife.

  12. Stacy says:

    It’s a fine thing to have hunters in the garden, keeping things in balance. But it cracks me up that he didn’t share his catch with his sibling. We’re not so far removed from the animal kingdom after all!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks…since some folks are disturbed by hunting I wanted to be sensitive to them….we have quite a hopping area for wildlife and hunting these days which means the ecosystem is good.

  13. Cheryl says:

    It was lovely to see such beautiful, healthy fox. Here, mange has been a huge and tragic issue. Loved the quotation from Louise Erdrich, my favorite writer… Next to you!

  14. Veronica Roth says:

    Oh my goodness Donna, that’s life…eh? How lucky you are to have this guy in your garden and your life. I wish a fox would come visit us in OXON. All one ever does is barks away in the middle of the night, but never comes into the garden when I can see him. 🙁 Oh well, maybe one day. Hope your week is shaping up nicely.

  15. barbarapc says:

    They are such beautiful creatures and watching them move and hunt you certainly can understand why people used sly or sneaky as a fox. We’d lost our foxes for a while when the coyotes moved in. I find it amazing to think that in our cultivated neighbourhoods, they live among us.

    • Donna says:

      Absolutely Barbara they are sly in their hunting. It is amazing what wild creatures live in our cultivated areas with people. They do adapt.

  16. Laura @ Raise Your Garden says:

    Beautiful fox photo’s, he’s cute despite everything, bunny and all! It’s hard to teach my little dachshunds to leave the rabbits alone so I can’t blame a hungry fox. Coyotes, now they’re another story! No thanks. I always have to watch my kitties from fox and coyote regardless.

    • Donna says:

      Yes fox and coyotes do not distinguish between pets and wild animals for food Laura. Better safe than sorry. Glad you enjoyed Hunter’s story.

  17. Casa Mariposa says:

    Rabbits are massively overpopulated so I’m glad the fox had one as its meal. While they are incredibly cute, they destroy a lot of gardens. Your fox looks healthy despite being thin. The few fox we see here often have mange.

  18. bettyl - NZ says:

    Lovely story and great photos! Our cat brought in her first baby bunny of the year, so I know it’s really spring! I don’t get upset about it because they are introduced here and have no natural predators so they are a nuisance to farmers. It’s just part of life.

  19. Ginnie says:

    I love how Mother Nature knows how to take care of her own, Donna. This is as it should be. We know we all are part of the life cycle and we, too, will return to dust one day. It’s just how it is and you have shared it beautifully. Thank you.

  20. Rose says:

    How wonderful to see Axl return! We had two foxes last summer that would stroll across our front yard every morning and evening and then disappear into the cornfield. I haven’t seen a sign of them this year, so I have been wondering if they are still around. I think they’re beautiful animals, and I agree they are welcome to all the small rodents they can find. Baby bunnies have met their demise here in other ways…it’s all part of nature.

  21. Janet/Plantaliscious says:

    Such sleek and effective hunters, you captured the so well Donna. I’ve seen plenty of urban foxes in the past, and have seen the effects of one visiting a henhouse, but I’ve only seen one since we moved here, I think they prefer prowling the surrounding farmland for rabbits than haunting the houses for trash as they used to when we lived in the city. I’d far rather see a fox with a rabbit in its mouth than a plastic bag!

  22. Christina says:

    Dear Donna, what a lovely post about the foxes in your garden! They are truly beautiful creatures! I think you are very lucky to have so much wildlife in and around your garden. As for the fox killing the baby rabbit: Yes, it is hard to watch and I do feel sorry for the rabbit, but the fox has to live and he ensures his own living by hunting. That is nature and I am OK with that!
    Wishing you a nice rest of the weekend!
    Christina

  23. Faythe @ GrammyMouseTails says:

    How lucky to have a family of fox! I also view it as a mother natures view, against the feral cats (wish people would stop that, it is harmful to wild nature & the cats). I could use a fox since we are over run with feild mice & chipmunks. they like to nest up in our car engine and at least once a year it costs us several hundreds of dollars to fix their mess. I would also enjoy watching them in our yard with the other wildlife we watch. stopping over from Eileens- Saturday Critters.
    Faythe @ GrammyMouseTails

    • Donna says:

      Faythe thank you for stopping by and I am so pleased you enjoyed the foxes. I wish I could send them to visit a few times a year. 🙂

      • Faythe @ GrammyMouseTails says:

        I use to see a lone fox many years ago, always crossing the road near my corner. but it was a while ago. this year I just caught a glimpse pf a coyote running through the yard. We noticed a big reduction in turkeys & poults but I guess he doesn’t care for rodent fare.
        Faythe @ GMT~

  24. Beth says:

    I enjoyed your story and photos, Donna. We’ve had fox in our yard a few years back – I have a video of a mama and her babies; the babies wrestling, eating strawberries, chasing each other. Such fun to see! Recently I was walking my dog and she found a baby bunny. She didn’t hurt it, just touched it with her nose. I’m sure if I hadn’t been there, she probably would have killed and eaten it but glad that didn’t happen.

    • Donna says:

      Oh how wonderful to have that fox visit on video to see over and over…..such cute babes. Baby bunnies are always at risk so one survived another day thanks to you Beth. We have had many in our garden in nests that have never survived due to cats, snakes, and birds of prey.

  25. nicole says:

    DONNA!!! What extraordinary photos you have captured here of your foxes!!! And I am with you…it is the cycle of life and animals need to eat. How wonderful that you have nature right at your doorstep like this! I so enjoyed your post friend! Wishing you a wonderful weekend! Nicole xo

    • Donna says:

      Oh Nicole I loved your enthusiastic reaction to the post….I am so glad you really liked it…hoping your weekend has been enjoyable.

  26. micupoftea says:

    Oh my goodness… Axl is so handsome. What a treat to see him and his family so close up. I think it is fabulous that you don’t use pesticides and make your yard welcoming to wildlife. We try to do the same, even though we are in the suburbs. We have lots of gorgeous birds, hawks, owls and coyote. This past summer we had a visiting raccoon and a skunk! Thanks for visiting my blog. I just made a post about approaching autumn and what our CA backyard looks like that I think I’ll share in your link up. Happy September 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Oh I am so excited to have you join in Seasonal Celebrations and to meet a fellow lover of wildlife. It is so important to keep our yards critter friendly. We used to have a family of albino skunks here and we do not see raccoons but woodchucks are around.

  27. Marie says:

    Oh, what a beautiful story! Not so great for the rabbit, but as you say that is part of nature! I love that you have a successful fox family living next to your yard, and visiting there often. I love the photos. So glad you are joining Eileen’s meme, and I will check out Wildlife Wednesday too. I don’t often see wildlife myself. Great post!

  28. Hannah says:

    Not offended, I applaud the fox for catching the bunny. I have 2 acres and lots of grass, clover, and other delights for the rabbits that live here, but instead they squeeze through gaps in my fence and eat my little rows of bean seedlings, or my new expensive wildflower plants. So, I could wish for foxes. They are cute, you did a good job photographing them. My cat is an excellent hunter but can only deal with baby bunnies, and she does eat them as well as the voles and mice, she is very efficient. I do begrudge her any shrews, birds, snakes, or lizards she might catch. She was my daughter’s left-behind cat, not mine. If you have a wildlife garden then maybe you don’t grow plants you would mind the rabbits eating.

    • Donna says:

      Hannah so glad you liked the foxes and the rabbits squeeze through my fence too. I have had to chase them out of the garden if they don’t behave and eat just the clover. And you have quite a hunter yourself.

  29. catmint says:

    great photos and story, Donna. People shouldn’t be upset at seeing a fox eat bunnies, that’s what a thriving ecosystem is. It’s Ok if it’s in balance, except it never is, is it? Foxes here, along with feral cats and dogs and goats, wreak havoc on native flora and fauna.

    • Donna says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post. It is sad when the ecosystem is out of balance. I do like when I can see it tripping back to be a bit more balanced here.

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