Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fox Out Front

I'm used to getting a glimpse of the elusive fox once or twice during a summer, but recently I've surprised the animal far more times than I have during my entire life.
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.
 Imagine, if you would, playing hide and seek with a fox among these arborvitaes. The pyramidal arborvitaes on the left are about 15 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The global arborvitaes on the right are about 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The fox outsmarted me for several minutes before I saw the tail gliding away over the hill about 40 feet away. This whole array of greenery is less than 50 feet from our house, an unusually close distance for a fox to visit for very long.

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


  1. I just jumped from Michael Wojahn's blog at, where he wrote about spotting fox on his southwestern Minnesota farm, to yours. And here you're also writing about fox.

    Nancy, the fox photos are great. Is this a baby fox? It looks so young. I look forward to reading more fox reports.

  2. Nancy and I have spotted the fox often during the past several weeks, but now it seems to be gone or at least a bit less brave. Pictures and "analysis" to follow in the next blog.