Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Second Cub!

We were sure the vixen's second cub must be dead as we hadn't seen it for at least a fortnight. But my partner was up early this morning and took these snaps, proving that perhaps Cub 2 is alive and well, but perhaps just a little shy, hiding behind its sibling. I'm so pleased. 

I have often wondered how Mum summons her cubs, because we never hear her make a sound, and yet they suddenly appear. Apparently, on one of the recent programmes about foxes, it was revealed that the vixen emits a wine which is too deep for humans to hear. I'd always though animals heard sounds on a higher frequency than ours, so I was surprised to learn that they could hear sounds below our lowest frequency too.

Which reminds me... Years ago, I shared a flat with a guy I'd been to university with. He got a bee in his bonnet about decoding bird song (too much wacky baccy) and would play his Ludwig Koch birdsong album at 16 rpm on his old record player, to see if he could hear what they were saying. As he often did it at four in the morning, I was not very pleased to be woken by the sound of a blackbird croaking like a stoned frog!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Murder in the Garden

There were two pigeon slaughters recently and in both cases, it didn't take much detective work to find out who the killer was. I stumbled on the first scene as I went down to replenish the bird feeders. There at my feet were a tail...

... and the wings.

These were sure signs of a sparrow hawk strike. This was so fresh that the blood was still wet and the flies had begun buzzing around. (Sorry if I've put you off your breakfast!) The bird of prey swoops in, grabs the bird, wrenches off the inedible wings and tail and carries off the meaty body back to the nest.

The second kill was made by the fox. No doubt about that.

No bits were neatly severed here. She just leaped up, caught it in mid-air and carried the whole carcase off to the cub. Yes, sadly it is cub in the singular. For the past three weeks, we have only seen her with one. Both cubs had seemed big and healthy, so I can only assume one of them was killed by another fox, or died of some kind of illness. It certainly didn't starve to death. She is a very successful mum. Once she has stopped feeding the cub, I shall recommence her anti-mange fox drops. At the moment, I don't know who is eating the food I put out, her or the cub.