The Happy Fox Trot

I know. I know. I should have taken the bird feeders down two months ago. But I blame it on My Guy because he keeps bringing damaged bags of bird seed home. And because of that, we’ve actually had a delightful time watching all the action at the feeders and below where I scatter plenty of seed on the ground so others can partake.

A pair of Northern Cardinals are the most frequent visitors, and lately he’s taken to making sure she’s well fed. Often she sits and waits rather than helping herself, taking notes on the kind of parent he will be to their offspring.

Chipping Sparrows have also participated in courtship feeding, and just maybe this behavior also strengthens the bond between the two genders.

He did look at me as if to say, “Hey, this is between the two of us. Skedaddle.” And I eventually did disappear.

But when I looked again, I spotted an Eastern Chipmunk filling its cheeks. While this is common behavior, what wasn’t quite so common is that fact that most of its tail was missing. Had a fight occurred or did it narrowly escape becoming a meal?

I’ll never know. Among the most frequent mammal visitors are the Gray Squirrels. And they, along with the Red Squirrels and Eastern Chipmunks have learned where we store the seed in the barn and no matter how many times we think we’ve outfoxed them, we soon discover that they’ve been chewing again. We’re now using small metal trash cans, but knowing the prowess of these critters, I doubt we’ve won this battle. And keeping them out of the barn is impossible because it’s an old barn with lots of secret passageways, some that I’m sure we’re not aware of . . . yet.

Some days there are five or six Gray Squirrels foraging for seeds and looking as if they own the place. I suppose they do. We’re merely itinerate tenants and we give thanks that they let us live here.

Oh, and then there’s the neighborhood fox. We haven’t discovered the den yet, but every morning we can expect two or three visits. If it isn’t successful at sneaking up on one of the other critters, and squirrels and chipmunks can outrun a fox, it, too, dines on some seeds.

And then pauses to lick its chops.

But what the fox really wants is a more substantial meal and I suspect it has kits nearby that need feeding.

Unfortunately for the fox, sometimes the American Crows announce its presence and all the little critters run up trees or fly away.

Soon, however, they return. And begin to forage again.

And from high positions, they’ll take a break, and actually pull seeds out of those puffed-up cheeks in order to dine.

And so this morning dawned with a light rain, and just as our Red Fox walked in front of the stones by the garden, I saw a flash of brown run across the flatter rock. R.F. jumped up, looked around, jumped down and gave chase. The fox was unsuccessful.

But that didn’t stop it from returning and though the crows didn’t alert us, the squeal of a Gray Squirrel made us raise our heads and look out the back door.

Breakfast had been secured and the last we saw of the fox, it was trotting away with a meal in its mouth.

The Happy Fox Trot indeed.

8 thoughts on “The Happy Fox Trot

  1. Here is what has worked for us. On your garbage can, thread a bungee from one handle to the other, passing it through and around the handle for the top on the way. Make sure it’s tight enough! Maybe some critter will chew through it, but it has worked for us for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to put out seed all summer until the bears found it, destroyed the feeder, destroyed the heavy plywood cover of the storage bin and made a big mess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I know that is a possibility. We’ve seen a bear in our yard 3 times in the last 30 years, and you never know. This morning the squirrel won the race and ran up a tree. Fox 1; Squirrel 1.


  3. Happy fox indeed!

    This is a little different from the “bear trees” you usually look for: a hemlock instead of beech. I don’t think this was from climbing, but perhaps marking territory? Took a pretty powerful swipe to rip the bark off a healthy hemlock even in the spring. The walking stick is 46” long.

    Thought you would like this,

    Larry Clark


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Larry,
      Unfortunately, I can’t see the pic. Bummer. I’ve seen bear claw swipes on Red Pine that I think were the same as yours. And once found a Paper Birch that one had climbed. I’ll ask Faith to give you my personal email address so you can send the pic there.
      Great to hear from you. LMH


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