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Crow, Maddy, Red Fox

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Red Fox, phot courtesy of Pennsylvania Game Commission

Red Fox, photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Game Commission

During the spring and summer, we started to notice more foxes in our neighborhood. We had sporadic fox sightings over the years. A few years ago, one fox in particular was a mangy-looking guy that we’d see a couple times a week. But this year, I think a pair must’ve moved in to Amberley to birth and raise their kits. By mid-spring, we had almost daily sightings of the litter. I believe there were four kits all together, but rarely did we see all four at once.

The parents seemed to hunt alone, so I think the kits were left to their own defenses during those times. By early summer they were so cute, I’d guess over half grown, romping around in the grass with each other like kittens.

All throughout late-May, June and July, one of the adults would hunt throughout our neighborhood during the day. He would skulk around, looking for some poor little animal to catch. (I tried not to pay attention when I’d see him scamper down the path between our house and my in-law’s with a small lifeless mammal hanging from his jaws. I don’t really want to know what he’s killing out there.)

But I have to wonder if he hunted young fledgling birds? I say this because the large flock of crows that resides in our woods would go ballistic at the first sight of a fox. I’m not kidding. My morning coffee break would be shattered by the sound of at least a dozen crows cawing and cackling, drawing closer to my house. Sure enough, I’d look out the window and there was a fox. And all the while, the crows would fly above him, or land in tree branches above him, never stopping their warning calls.

The crows became our alert system. I say “our” because my pooch, Maddy, began to associate the “crow alarm system” with the foxes. Although her breed mix is a mystery, she has to have some sort of hound in her, the way she reacts to all the wildlife tempting her from outside our windows. She would jump up, even if sound asleep, when she heard the crows. And proceed to have a fit, running from window to window, gouging scrapes into my hardwood floors as she tore through the house to get a better view of the fox.

Maddy on the lookout

Maddy on the lookout

Maddy doesn’t bark either, not like she does when she sees deer or other dogs. For foxes, she has this ear-piercing, high-decibel screechy scream that she emits. Typically, the fox would stop, look up towards the house where Maddy’s screechy scream was coming from, then continue along his way. Foxes remind me of raccoons or cats in that way – the attitude of, “Yeah, I’m here because I wanna be, so what are you gonna do about it?”

It’s late-August now, and we rarely have a fox sighting anymore. Regardless, when Maddy hears the crows she still runs to the window and looks for the fox. Maybe I should change her name to Pavlov?

 

Fox Facts

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About Kim, amateur wildlife enthusiast

I'm a wife, mother of two 'tweens (the eldest pictured with me above), freelance writer and editor, and amateur backyard wildlife enthusiast. When I'm not sitting in front of a laptop, I enjoy the outdoors, boating, gardening, traveling, playing the piano, watching my kids play lacrosse and spending time with extended family. After losing my mother in 2010 at age 64 to cancer, spending time with family has become even more important to me.

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