The hunt

A red fox looked like it was hunting mice over in the neighbor’s yard this afternoon.

red fox hunting

Can he smell mice through the snow?

I tried to open the window to get a better shot without window glass reflection, but the fox heard me, and immediately raised its head and looked like it would run off.

red fox

I was probably 300 feet from the fox, but obviously my muted squeaky window was quite loud to the fox.

Although the fox turned and looked like it would run back into the woods, it suddenly paused, turned back toward my backyard and started creeping up the hill between our two yards. There were two gray squirrels nosing around for seeds beneath the bird feeders, but I don’t see how the fox could have seen them because it was downhill from them.

red fox-lying in wait for squirrels

And here is where the fox remained, squinting into the sun for about five minutes while the squirrels frisked about the bird feeders.

red fox lying in wait for squirrel

Oh, how I wish I could open the window (despite the -5 F temperature) to get a cleaner shot, but this will have to do.

And then…one of the squirrels made a move to visit another bird feeder, heading straight toward the fox.  And the fox made its move.

red fox-stalking a squirrel

Amazing how fast that fox closed on the unsuspecting squirrel. 

red fox-stalking a squirrel

Two giant leaps and he was on it.  Finally the squirrel took evasive action, but it was too little too late.

red fox-hunting squirrel

But of course the collision between fox and squirrel took place exactly where I had no window view. However, I was able to verify that the fox ran off up the neighbor’s hill with a big lump of squirrel in its jaws.

 

At first I was glad to see that the squirrel population was reduced by one because the backyard is overrun with them.   But if squirrels are what bring foxes to my backyard, then I should be happy the pesky squirrels are so numerous.

 

11 thoughts on “The hunt

  1. When we had our wooded lot, we were privy to many natural hunting attacks. It was also a reason we never raised chickens like I dreamed about when we had land.

    Being able to witness a kill in the name of survival is awe inspiring. Please note this comment is coming from a vegetarian too boot!

  2. Great shots of the fox, Sue, and a compelling story as well. Squirrels are awfully fast and in my experience generally stay close to trees. I guess that this one was slightly distracted by food and that led to its demise. If you hadn’t mentioned the closed window, I am not sure that I would have known that you were shooting from inside the house–the images are remarkable.

    • Thanks, Mike, but if you enlarged them to 100%, you would see how fuzzy the edges are. The air yesterday was crystal clear, which is why I would have loved to shoot in the open air instead. Maybe next time.

  3. Great stuff, Sue. But for the weather, I envy you for the wild life your area seems to afford you. A red fox was spotted here, recently, and it made the front page two days in a row.

  4. Beautiful pictures! I haven’t seen our foxes since the snow/sleet storm. They’re still under the barn. One afternoon Buffy and I were out back. She was investigating around the barn. I was in the middle of the backyard and smelled the fox marking his territory.

  5. Pingback: Making the rounds | Back Yard Biology

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