Friday, March 13, 2009

Nocturnal Backyard Visitors

Remember those fox tracks I've been watching in the snow all winter? Tonight we actually got to see the foxes -- and yes, there were two! One ran away shortly after Mr. Johnson turned on the backyard light, but this braver one stayed around for quite a while eating seed under the bird feeder.
It didn't even seem to mind sharing the dining area with this big ol' possum.
And here's one more bad close-up picture.
I definitely need to do some seed clean-up in the backyard once it warms up this weekend, so while I'm out there, I'll try figure out a way to put out a feeder with "more appropriate" fox and possum food and maybe a little closer to the house for better viewing and photo ops.

By the way, my backyard possum population is increasing too -- just a few minutes ago, I saw a total of four of them out there!


cindy said...

Ruthie, I think those might be Grey Foxes. We had a couple in our woods/backyard a few years ago. They climb trees and are very different than Red Foxes. If they have a black tip on their tail, they're greys! Look them up. Interesting animals. Haven't been around for a couple of weeks, I have some catching up to do.

Gaelyn said...

Way Cool!! I think Grey Fox also. We have them here and only see them at night. Not too bad a pic under the circumstances. Seems most wildlife likes bird seed.

Kelly said...

...very cool. I'd love to see a fox show up in my yard! You're lucky with your night-time visitors.

Kallen305 said...

I have seen both a gray and red fox in my yard before. I can't believe the possum wasn't afraid of the fox. Very cool! BTW: Foxes, skunks and possums like dog kibble. I put some out every night for my night time visitors.

Beth said...

I like foxes, but Ruthie, where is your snow? Has it all melted already? I get kind of paranoid when I realize that Maine is the only place that still has four feet of snow pack.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What fun seeing your backyard wildlife. I will never forget years ago when my daughter came running into the house after a date so excited because when they pulled into the driveway a mother possum with babies hanging all over it had walked through our garden. She was so exicted. Maybe you will be able to get pictures like that later in the year what with your possum population increasing.

Mary said...

I have the coons but no possums or foxes, that I know of... And, I won't feed them either! They find enough under the feeder stations. Like you, I need to get the rake out and get some cleaning done out there! (if it ever stops raining)

Jayne said...

How cool that you finally got to see the fox that has been leaving you clues all around! That is ONE fat possum too! :c)

RuthieJ said...

Oh Cindy, you're right! I pulled out my Mammals of Minnesota book and read about them especially as compared to the Red Fox, and Stan's photos are of the same type of fox as we saw. I never knew there were foxes that climbed trees! The book says kits are born in April-May, so maybe I'll get to see those little ones this summer!

Thanks Gaelyn. My book also says they'll eat mice, voles, and moles and there's plenty of those in my backyard too.

Hi Kelly,
I never thought I'd actually catch a glimpse of the foxes. Mr. Johnson was doing the last check for deer in the backyard and the foxes just happened to be there at that time. I'm so happy we've finally gotten to see them.

Hi Kim,
I have to get another big bag of dog food next week (it's a lot cheaper than bird seed for feeding the critters!) I think I'm going to rework a couple tray feeders too--hopefully it will accomodate both the foxes and the possums.

Hi Beth,
Yeah, our snow is almost all gone. In the last two snowstorms that have hit Minnesota, we've been on the "rain" side of the system. Today our temps will be in the 50's, so that should take care of most of the remaining snow piles. Up in northern Minnesota they've still got plenty of snow.

Hi Lisa,
A possum with babies hanging onto her is what I'm hoping to see also.

Hi Mary,
I'm hoping all these other critters will keep the raccoons away. They're cute, but too destructive around the bird feeders (as you well know!)

Thanks Jayne. I have one really small possum but the others that I've seen are huge!

Anonymous said...


WOW!! What a treat to finally see your foxes that have only left foot prints in the snow. I hope they are a pair, male/female. It would be so much fun to see the kits romping.


Mel said...

Hola Ruthie,
So many cool visitors! All I get to see are ocasionally lost birds and some spiders. That's my backyard population :(

Mama Pea said...

Okay, Ruthie, fess up. Admit you really import all the animals and birds you take pictures of and write about on your blog. Talk about a wildlife santuary! You've got it, Girl.

We've seen one or two red foxes in/near the yard in years past so we know they're around but have never managed a picture.

Tell Beth in Maine we here in northern Minnesota still have lots of snow, too. Although today is our warmest day yet - 39.9 right now at 2:45 - so it's got to be melting a bit!

troutbirder said...

Do these guys come out from the urban areas? I've seen one fox in my yard in forty plus years. Of course, I didn't have proper glasses for many of those.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
Isn't it cool? I was so excited to finally get a glimpse of them. I hope we get to see the kits also. I'm going to do some exploring and try to find their den.

Hi Mel,
I'm always surprised at the birds and other wild critters and bugs you are able to find in your large city.

Hi Mama Pea,
At the Deer & Turkey Expo we attended today, we learned about small backyard ponds for attracting wildife--especially deer. Guess what's on my "to do" list for this summer now......
Wow--almost 40 degrees--that sounds great! Wonder how long it will take to melt all your snow this year?

Hi Troutbirder,
According to my Mammals of Minnesota field guide, gray fox habitat is deciduous forests, rocky outcrops, river valleys, brushy areas--not exactly the habitat around my backyard, so I'm pretty surprised. I have no idea where this pair might have come from, but I sure hope they stay around.

jan m said...

I was just thinking today, that I should do a little cleanup out back, or I'll be getting some critters. I live in a suburban development, and seem to be the only yard with squirrels and rabbits, so I better stop there.

dAwN said...

how cool to have those critters in your back yard.
That night cam is great for capturing what we wouldnt normally see.
Have fun and i hope you get to see the young uns too.

Shellmo said...

You have national geographic in your backyard!! How cool to see!!

Marsha said...

How cool are these visitors! Such fun to see them sharing the bounty.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jan M,
I'm lucky that my backyard isn't really visible from the street, I'm sure my neighbors wouldn't be happy if they knew I was entertaining all these wild critters every night!

Hi Dawn,
Now that it's warmed up a little, I'm planning to put the game tracker camera out to try and get some better shots of my nocturnal visitors

Thanks Shelley.

Thanks Marsha.

danielle said...

You got your fox picture! Yay!

Leedra said...

The opossum could stay away, but the fox photos would be great!

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Julie said...

They're all very cute! So, what is "more appropriate" food?

Anonymous said...

This is so neat! We have little Kit foxes you see once in a blue moon...I love the idea of seeing things outside at night...great photos.