|(picture courtesy of news.deltanewsweb.com)|
Imagine the scene. A fairly quiet, damp day in the middle of a disappointing summer, the sort of day when animals eagerly search for food. The bird feeders are full to overflowing, and two woodpigeons are eagerly eating fallen seed. There are bushes all around, and long grass. The fox lies in the grass. He is young and unsure, and unseen by the birds. I watch through binoculars, fascinated yet fearful that I might see something alien to my senses. Fascination won. I kept watching.
|(Picture courtesy of cliffsview.wordpress.com)|
Slowly the fox moves nearer to the birds. They are side by side, with their backs to him. They see nothing, nor apparently do they sense his presence. He moves in; I tense up, dreading his next move. Seemingly unaware, the pigeons carry on feeding.
The fox decides to circle the birds. Stealthily he moves to one side, aiming to take the birds by surprise. One of them senses the unexpected company, stares at the intruder. The bird stiffens and moves in slow motion a fraction to the right, then repeats the manoeuvre until the fox has only a rear view of his quarry. Although the second bird carries on eating, he has also turned until he, too, faces away from the fox.
I waited, expecting to see the fox make a dive for one of the birds. It was not to be. He simply turned tail and walked away.
I know the fox catches birds, I’ve seen the heaps of magpie feathers in the garden. I’m no expert in these matters but I can only imagine the reason he changed his mind about going for a pigeon this time was because there were two of them. Whilst catching one, the other could attack. Sensible decision, under the circumstances. And there was me thinking the birds were stupid! Not so, they held their ground and so defeated the enemy. Amazing!