We had snow last week and I learned all sorts of things were going on in my yard without my knowledge.
At the north end of the property, I found fox tracks going across the corner leading to and from my neighbors' properties, new ones appeared virtually every day. They often don't venture far onto the property, and often walk along the northwest boundary which is covered in prickly wineberry vines. The large male fox comes most frequently, and two smaller foxes came along with him once in a while.
Why the highway? Why there? My husband came up with a theory that seems to fit. On either side of our property are the homes of single male humans, both have a history of feeding stray and/or mooching cats. The cats look pretty plump and well cared for, so I am betting mooching. I think the fox may be benefiting from their largess. Picking up an evening snack of kibble may be the reason for the regularity of their visits. They are not sniffing out the chicken coop or run, they don't get within 100 feet of either, so they are not waiting to see if we make a mistake in locking up the girls.
We knew they were here at night, just after Christmas my daughter went to get something out of one of the cars in the driveway. She donned her new holiday headlamp and zipped out the door without turning on the porch or spotlight. There was a child-like scream followed by more animalistic noises, coming from a very few feet from where she was sprinting (She doesn't walk outside she runs, that's just how she has always been...). She whipped around and threw and crashed herself back into the house (that's what it sounded like from the kitchen) and breathlessly yelled, "What__ was__ that??!! Her father heard the animal scream from inside the house, and soon we were googling fox sounds, apparently she had startled a vixen, who in turn then more than startled her.
I guess we need to walk the goofy hunting dog around the edge of the property more often.
|Squirrel's Last Stand|
The snow revealed other stories, most of them don't end well for the squirrels. Apparently, at least three met their ends by a hawk or an owl not far from the fox tracks. Their tracks hop out into undisturbed snow, there are spots where an obvious struggle took place and then no body and no other tracks.
|Assorted comings and goings|