It is the habit of the Lady of the house to look out at the area near the house soon after arising. What she saw at 6:30 this morning was two foxes. Focusing on their actions, no pictures were taken since no camera was nearby. This later photo of the deer also shows the ground where the fox action took place. The curved trail that all of us use disappears at the notch but continues to the back woods. This morning two foxes used the trail to reach the area where they spent much of their time. The area in the snow in front of the tall weeds near the right edge of the picture was the center of their interaction. Then they moved onto a grassy area and continued their dance. It was the vixen who headed off into the unmown grass. The male laid down on the grass one more time perhaps expecting her to return then he got up quickly and followed her.
All of these marks in the snow were made this morning by a pair of foxes. Today was the first time that both foxes were here at the same time. Like many animals or birds, the organs of reproduction must be awakened before the seeds for the next generation are ready for deposit. This scene of much activity included the pair stretching out on the snow while pressing themselves tightly to the ground. Facing each other, their noses were mere inches apart. The female moved away first with the male closely following. Then it was back on the ground facing each other again. These movements were repeated many times as can be seen by the number of tracks in the snow. Becky watched this pair for fifteen minutes. Then they left this area together likely seeking out a suitable spot for their den.
The female fox is much smaller than the male. They had to be seen together for the difference in size to register. Recently the fox seen being chased by the beagle seemed small to me. Apparently it was the female. This photo shows the difference in the size of the footprints. The larger male marks are more easily seen since they are both larger and deeper in the snow. The smaller more shallow prints made by the female are near the top of the photo and are barely visible.
It is exciting beyond description that we may provide the home for the next generation of Red Foxes. We will make no attempt to find their den since we will not risk driving them away. We will devote much time looking out of our windows to see whatever happens by.