Mr. Fox and Me

We've lost a whole bunch of birds to a fox (or foxes) over the last two weeks. March has always been fox month. This year is not the worst ever but it's close. I would guess at least 15 birds so far.

I have never actually seen a fox except perhaps for a blurry shape in the distance. The only way to identify a fox attack is a pile of feathers like the in in the photo. Though frequently you don't even see that. Often you just notice certain birds have gone missing.

Yesterday, for example, we noticed that both our roosters were taken. At least we assume so. They're not on the property and although I've seen roosters hide for up to 24 hours it's past that now (people have the idea that roosters protect the flock. I've heard some stories but generally mine are the first under cover when something bad happens).

Fox like rainy days at dusk. Yesterday, being rainy, we closed the coops up as early as we could. Sadly one bird got left out and when we went to get the eggs there was Mr Fox dining on said bird. As soon as he saw me he ran but stopped 20 feet away, turned around and locked his gaze on me and we both froze.

We held that position for a good couple of minutes. He looked a question at me: Can we maybe work this out? That was my dinner and I was really enjoying it.

I replied silently that no we couldn't and I was very sorry but I couldn't condone this sort of thing on our farm. He stared at me intently for a minute longer seeking common ground, wondering how this situation might be brought to a mutually beneficial conclusion.

Farmhand was coming up behind me with his egg basket, out of view of the fox. We'd both seen enough action movies that I was able to use special-forces-like hand signals to communication that something was afoot and he should approach stealthily and quietly (that was kind cool - the hand signal bit). He did so and was able to get a quick look at the fox.

But just then the fox broke and ran for cover. I got the impression that Mr fox knew what all parents know: There's no reasoning with children.

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