Friday, June 10, 2016

Sad Fox News

Yesterday morning one of our local foxes showed up, loping around our back garden. I had time for just one photo before Olga, lunging at the back door, scared it away.

Then, maybe just half an hour later, Olga and I were walking on nearby Mill Lane when we saw a pair of foxes. One of them had been hit by a car. There was blood in the street and the fox had retreated beyond a locked gate, where it was lying motionless on the ground. The other fox -- apparently unhurt -- was standing over it, eyeing us warily.

There was no way to tell whether these foxes were the same ones we see in our garden, but it looked like an older adult and an adolescent -- which is what we've seen, too. I felt sick about it all day. I had to keep reminding myself that despite what I call them, these are not our foxes -- they're wild animals, leading hazardous animal lives. I've read online that urban foxes usually live just a few years, and I've found automotive casualties before.

And then, this morning, just as I was typing this blog post, look who showed up!

Are we seeing just one or two foxes, over and over? Or multiple foxes? I have no idea. I honestly can't tell them apart. This one looks a bit older than the one I photographed yesterday.

Anyway, it looks like we'll still have garden visitors, despite yesterday's tragedy.

Today is our last day of school before we break for summer -- much earlier than British schools, which (as one of my commenters pointed out yesterday) run into July. Being an American school, we're on an American schedule -- we break earlier, but then we go back in mid-August, while British schools are out several more weeks.

I'm scheduled to work a full day today but, with no library customers, I can't imagine what I'll be doing with all that time. Yesterday we had a year-end meeting and an outdoor food-and-drink gathering, so business is pretty much concluded.


Alphie Soup said...

The fox seems to approve of your choice of garden seat.

Ms Soup

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I trust that Foxy Loxy has taken the opportunity to "christen" your new bench. Make sure you check it out carefully each time before you sit down.
Sad to hear of the dead fox. By the way after Fred left the scene in our garden we are getting two new foxy visitors. I left the remains of a leg of lamb on the lawn and later saw two foxes fighting over it. I think I'll name them Steve and Dave.

Shooting Parrots said...

Hard to tell for sure, but they look like the same fox to me. I seem to recall one of those BBC nature programmes saying that the life expectancy for an urban fox is something like 12 to 18 months which seems rather sad to me.

Marty said...

I hadn't realized you were at an American school. Funny coincidence, since when my father spent a year at the Imperial Defense School, I went to an American high school in Ruislip - long, long ago, though.

Ms. Moon said...

We can't help but think of the creatures who visit us regularly as part of our extended family. Or is that just me?
Sometimes, as with my cats, they come with luggage and just move in. I doubt your fox has that in mind.
What WILL you do all week? Start writing a novel? Why not?

Cheryl West said...

What a relief to see "your" resident fox alive and well. It is always hard seeing animals hit in the road, especially cats and dogs, for me. I know that squirrels and raccoons are often struck in this area.
My husband felt awful last night for hitting a bird on the Interstate but couldn't swerve in fast moving traffic.

37paddington said...

Congrats on another year! Are your visiting urban foxes less dangerous than in the wild? Your photos of them are very evocative.

e said...

Love these photos. It is sad to know foxes live such a short life, another outcome of human encroachment. Enjoy your summer break.

John Going Gently said...

Country foxes are much more shy than city foxes.
We seldom see them

jenny_o said...

It sounds like urban foxes have about the same lifespan as urban outdoor cats. It's heart wrenching to see any animal suffering; a quick death is still death but not quite as bad.

Our schools start after Labour Day in September and finish near the end of June - it's been that way since I started school. (Canadian provinces have jurisdiction over education, so it can vary from province to province.) It seems strange to me to hear about different schedules! I'd read a book on a slow day if I were you :)

Red said...


ellen abbott said...

sad. I see dead squirrels in the road all the time. at least it wasn't your fox and yes it is yours. I imagine foxes are territorial as are most wild animals. your territory, your fox.

Lynne said...

I hate to see any kind of animal hit by a vehicle. So sad. Your foxes are pretty darned cute as long as they behave themselves in your yard.

My big bugaboo is when birds fly into our window (despite having a decal) and I can't save them. Happened just the other day to a beautiful bird. :(

Steve Reed said...

Ms Soup: Yes, he/she seems to like our bench!

YP: It wasn't "christened" as far as I could tell. Dave and I got a good laugh at your fox-naming idea. :)

Parrots: Yeah, that's consistent with what I've read, too. Just doesn't seem very long. And yet supposedly the population is growing overall!

Marty: I wonder what school that was? Our school has been in St. John's Wood since its founding. I've never heard of an American School in Ruislip but it may have been there and then moved elsewhere. There are several American or International schools in London.

Ms Moon: Well, as Ellen said below, my territory, my fox! I have no idea what I'm going to do and I'm not at all concerned about it. :)

Cheryl: A bird?! Was it on the ground? Usually birds have the good sense to get out of the way.

37P: Like any wild animal, they would probably fight back if you went after them, but I've never heard of these foxes being dangerous. (We don't have rabies in the UK.)

E: It IS sad, although from what I understand they're legally protected. You can't go out and kill them deliberately. Which is a good thing. Some people hate them.

John: Well, and with your birds around, that's a good thing, right? (Except as I recall from your blog you do get periodic raids...?)

Jenny-O: I'm guessing your Canadian system is timed more similarly to the British one. Don't you think?

Red: We Americans end early, but we go back early. It's a trade-off, really!

Ellen: Squirrels are so crazy it can be hard NOT to hit them. I like the "my territory, my fox" idea, as long as I don't have to pay vet bills. :)

Lynne: My dad has huge glass windows in his house and birds fly into them fairly frequently. I've tried to get him to put up a decal or some netting but he doesn't want to affect the view. The one time it happened when I was there, a woodpecker hit the glass with a THUNK and fell to the ground, but then it got up and flew away after about five minutes. It was just stunned. Whew!