September 1, 2021
Foxes in Focus, Part 2
- as seen by -Stacy Ratel @back_yard_birdie
Red foxes are (Vulpes vulpes) are highly adaptable, resourceful, and smart creatures. They thrive in a multitude of environments from the frozen Arctic tundra to a sandy beach habitat in my local New Jersey. Their diet is wide-ranging and omnivorous including everything from suckling milk to berries, from skunks, groundhogs, voles, and mice, to bagels or hot dogs left by beachgoers at the shore. Red foxes are solitary hunters, yet dad, as well as last year’s kits, deliver food to the den for the new growing pups.
Foxes avoid contact with the human world as best they can. Any opportunity for a photographer to observe their daily habits feels like an inspired occasion. I marvel as I watch the female fox work. Her soft, thick fur is the color of warm flames. She uses her bushy tail, large enough to blanket her own body, to cover the kits. It also provides balance as she prances like a sleek, world-class gymnast. Straight tail, outstretched on a mission, with a food-filled mouth, and diamond eyes, she travels over rocks, logs, and dense, wild landscape to return to her kits.
My photos open pathways for my own learning about these fascinating creatures. As I observe, I respect their boundaries, staying far enough away to remain a part of the landscape, as invisible as possible. This time, my non-invasive stance awarded me a window into everyday life for the fox family, the comings and goings of the mom, and the energetic frolics of the young. I begin to see the red fox family in all its complexity, which, of course, makes me want to return to the den to see some more.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out Foxes in Focus, Part 1 here.