Friday, March 19, 2010

Blizzards of 2010: Signs of the Fox

During the last week of December with the first blizzard's snow still on the ground, two red-tailed foxes where observed one afternoon going across the lower meadow.
These first two photos were taken the second morning after the second February storm.  How do I know that these are fox tracks?  First, the night before, in the near-full moonlight, I observed a male fox come up the hill into the back yard, mark the snow, proceed to the front yard, and then run down the newly plowed driveways.  Second, the tracks map nearly identically to the path of the foxes in December - even the curve over the to small bush under the snow - the bush the male had marked in December.  Why the deep tracks?  The snow had yet to crust over.
Third, the tracks came up the hill, to the general location that I observed in the moonlight the male fox marking by raising his leg.  The next morning the fox urine was clearly visible on the snow covered bush that served as a house for the birds and squirrels.  
24 hours later - the next morning - just before sunrise, this female red-tailed fox arrived and sniffed around under the feeder.  How did I know it was a female?
Simple, the male raises his leg to make and the female - per the above photo - squats to let their marks. 
You can see that even on this third morning after the storm, the fox is leaving deep tracks as the snow still had not crusted over.  Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, but they were taken in near darkness.

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