Saturday’s observations were entertaining. The kits, now likely two months old, are wild and wiley. Photographing them is not easy. For one, I have two safe places to photograph from, using my house as a blind. My family room is on one end of the front “deck” (or porch), and my garage windows are on the other side. The kits are not afraid of me (if I make no sudden moves or sounds and am standing at the window). The problem often is their outsmarting me. Just as in the Greek fables about the wiley fox, these intelligent creatures will run over the deck, or under it (through their den) to the opposite side of where I am! They can drive me crazy trying to keep up with them. From either window I encounter lots of bush branches in my way. From one window I have deck furniture, hummingbird feeders, and the deck itself, always present. It is a challenge to be at the right place at the right time. In my last post I introduced the four adults in my fox family. When Foxie Mama is around I can photograph the kits from outside……but only from a sitting position, and after I scare them once when I first approach. They then come back out with curiosity getting the better of them. “Bashful”, however, is the common babysitter, and, as her name suggests, she will not allow me outside around the kits. This morning, for the first time, Sweetie was babysitting. Normally I can get near Sweetie, but she must be fairly new to babysitting, because she didn’t know what to do while I was there. The kits took up on that confusion, and retreated. As a result, I now have lovely light, and no kits out playing. I
hope I’ll have an evening of fun like yesterday: Pictured, Bashful wakes everyone up, then they mob her, and she retreats to the birdbath. The kits run everywhere! Bashful seems to tell them off (featured photo) and then is bewildered by trying to keep track of everyone.
Actually, I say the above to anthropomorphize the fun of watching fox litters. However, there really is a fascinating set of communications foxes use to direct their young. I’ve heard the sharp scream they make when a dog comes sniffing around. The kits go under with the speed of prairie dogs when a hawk flies above them. There is a soft chortle when Mama or Bashful wants the little guys to come out to play, or take food offered. I’ve heard an interesting clicking sound made to get the kits’ attention as well. Then there is the hoarse three note barking the kits use to talk to each other……very fun stuff.
Bashful soon was tired of kit antics, and, below, is yawning, and staying off just in enough distance to keep watch as the pups fly around, chasing, pouncing, stalking and running, running, running. The day ends as the pups finally settle down to relax…….