Last week, I heard the wrens making even more noise than they usually do, so I ventured over to the wren house to see if there was an issue. I thought heard a slight growl. Figuring a neighbor's dog might be in the brush, I clapped my hands. Then I saw a fox tail slip behind the arborvitae. Obviously, I had no camera, but after the fact, I took some pictures of the area.
The next morning as Nancy and I were about to venture out to look at the flowers, she stopped and ran for the camera, exclaiming, "Fox!"
Fox was less than 10 feet from the house, looking for some bug protein among the rocks. Looks pretty thin, huh? Maybe Fox might actually be raising offspring in the nearby juniper bushes which are only about 30 feet from the house.
I know this is unlikely as heck, but why else do we keep seeing him so close to the house? Why is he so reluctant to leave? Why else do the wrens make even more noise than usual? Why did the cedar waxwings that nested in the junipers this spring, leave after a short time? Eight to ten cedar waxwings usually nest in the low junipers and entertain us all summer and into the fall, but their nest in the low junipers could easily be reached and robbed by Fox.
Fox posing by mugo pine, near the junipers, about 12 feet from the house.
Could the low junipers (center) conceal the den of Fox?
The wrens have taken over one of my bluebird houses, and you can see in the photo above the close proximity of the house to the low junipers. I know it's pretty unlikely that Fox will raise young this close to humans, but he keeps appearing almost daily and doesn't seem all that frightened of us. Of course, we've done nothing to scare him, unless you count the clapping I did when I thought his growl was a neighbor's dog.
Well, it's fun to speculate, and we'll be watching to see what happens. I'll let you know.
Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson