Saturday, May 24, 2014

Where Does The Fox Live?

A month ago my son saw a fox in the backyard.  It's always exciting to have a visit from wildlife.  Just this month we've had deer, osprey, and foxes visit us.  Two weeks ago the foxes moved in.  

Where does the fox live?  The whole family, two adults and four kits have established themselves under our garden shed.  The first week they moved in was rather exciting.  We enjoyed catching glimpses of them as they crossed the yard.  One evening we stood on our front porch and watched the kits play on the lawn.  While they are still elusive, they have grown accustomed to our coming and going.  Our foxes are not red, but have mottled coloring.  The state fish and game officer told us they are not indigenous to Oregon, but were brought here by someone hoping to raise them for their fur.  They escaped and are now growing in population.  There is a concern that cross breeding with the native fox population will damage the indigenous bloodline.

It's a growing family...and the kits have to eat.  The field in front of the shed is scattered with abandoned carcasses and feathers.  This morning I was on my hands and knees weeding the flower beds in front of the house, I glanced through the split rail fence and three feet in front of me was the carcass of a dead pheasant, the rib cage picked clean and glinting in the sun.  Last week there was a dead possum in front of the shed.  Every day there is at least one dead chicken and their feathers are everywhere.  We've asked our close neighbors if they are missing chickens, but apparently our foxes are hunting outside the neighborhood.

What started as an interesting sighting, isn't so much fun now...what with all the dead bodies and all.  The spouse filled in the holes to their den with dirt and concrete.  The state fish and game officer told us that would encourage them to move on.  It didn't.  They came home and dug new holes under the shed and brought more dead animals with them.

I worry about the quail that are nesting in the back garden.  I haven't seen the newly hatched chicks for several days.  They may have become appetizers for the foxes.  I hope we can encourage the foxes to leave before all our birds are gone.

I now know what the fox says...they bark like a dog, but only one short bark.
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