I love wildlife, but I don’t see as much now that I’ve moved from the country to a small town. So, you can imagine my glee (and my cat’s chagrin) when I saw a red fox trot into my back yard one morning.
He had a pale reddish coat with blackish legs and a very dapper, bushy tail. A few weeks later, I saw him pass through my yard again, at dusk. Could it be that he is attracted to the bird feeder, or is my yard on some sort of trail?
A number of foxes do eat wild birds, and it is true that they can go after chickens and other domestic avians, as the tales say. But it isn’t their only fare. They also dine on mice, rabbits, voles, fish, insects, and carrion, or enjoy a bunch of berries now and then. Foxes are opportunistic feeders; one fox might have a totally different diet from another one in a different location—it just depends on what’s available.
I’m not worried about my wild birds—they’re smart and always on the lookout. Plus, my feeder is high off the ground on an inaccessible metal pole and close enough to sheltering bushes (but not too close for an ambush), so my feathered friends should be safe there. Even people have to be careful around foxes, however, as they can carry rabies. But this little guy seems healthy and to be acting normally.
I was surprised to learn that foxes like birdseed. Perhaps my fluffy-tailed visitor is taking advantage of the seed that falls to the ground (though as yet, I haven’t caught him munching).
I’m hoping that he’ll visit more often, and that he’ll live a long, healthy life.
Do you have fox friend? Share your story below.
Heidi Stonehill, our Senior Editor, joined the team in 2001. She enjoys the natural sciences, gardening, music, art, poetry, and animals—especially her fuzzy feline, Joey.