We live not too far away from a stretch of river. As a result, we tend to get a variety of visitors to our neighborhood that make the trek from the river bottom, and on up into the suburbs. Some even decide they like it well enough and make our yards their homes. Some are welcome, some not so much.
One such visitor is the native grey fox. At one point there was a mom and her kit that decided to take residence in our neighbors’ back yard. We have larger than average-sized lots in our neighborhood, and their landscaping was such that there was a nice quiet corner tucked behind some large trees and shrubs that the little family could hide away in. Our neighbors were an older, retired couple and they were completely unbothered by the presence of the foxes and had no intention of driving them away.
We were glad to hear this because we are convinced that the foxes are helping to keep the squirrel population under control. Despite the presence of our cats, the squirrels have no qualms about dashing into our yard on occasion to bury the acorns from another neighbor’s oak trees. Every year we are pulling out baby oaks that are already firmly rooted in the ground. Then there was the squirrel that commandeered a tree in our back yard, and made mad dashes across the lawn to our fruit trees, stealing our prized plums and apricots, leaving us with nothing but a pile of pits at the base of the tree it dashed back to. It even had the nerve to loudly scold us every time we got too close. Jerk.
At one point the foxes seemed to have gone. Sadly, I saw a dead one on the side of the road one morning on the way to work. I’m pretty sure it was the mom that had been living in our neighbors yard. We were left wondering if we would have any more fox sightings. After all, there had been a young one, so maybe it would remember the area and return. For a long time, nothing. And then, our usual definitive sign showed up again after several months. Poop! Not too many people get excited about animal poop in their yard. We are the weird ones.
Since then we have seen our foxy friends here and there, and are glad for their presence. There is just something about the knowledge that wildlife is nearby and that we get to live in a happy medium of human existence and nature. In the smallest way, it softens the hardness of the concrete and asphalt, and mutes the noise and chaos of the modern world. It also doesn’t hurt that foxes are small and don’t tend to attack humans.
Despite several sightings, I have never been able to snap a picture of any of the foxes that have passed through. I have seen them running across the street while driving home at night, passing through our yard in the early morning or late evening, running through the yards of our neighbors, and one time caught one getting up from a nap under our car, but never when I could get a snapshot! So I have to contend myself with the image of our fox garden statue, instead.