Friends

11 August 2012

STALKING


(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!

10 comments:

Don't unplug your hub. said...

I suspect this young fox was just practicing his hunting skills. I have seen a fox take a hen right in front of an enormous cockerel. Hunger makes them very brave and bold.
Lovely post Valerie.

Mel said...

I think my heart skipped a beat worrying about the poor birdies.

Yeahyeah....I know, circle of life and all that.......

I make noises and toss things if a cat even comes near the feeder in the garden.....LOL...and it's the neighbors cat! :-D

Akelamalu said...

Fascinating. I know the fox has to eat but I'm glad he didn't attack.

Brian Miller said...

ha good on the birds...going in pairs to watch each others back...i know it wont deter all foxes but...

Valerie said...

The fox comes nearly every day, Pearl. He will get lucky soon.

It was interesting to watch, Brian.

Montanagirl said...

Wow, that IS amazing! I was sure he'd pounce. Maybe he was smart not to.

Ron said...

"And there was me thinking the birds were stupid! Not so, they held their ground and so defeated the enemy. Amazing!"

Amazing indeed!!!!

OMG Valerie, the way you wrote this had me on the edge of my seat! It was like watching/reading something from National Geographic!

Whew...glad to hear the fox didn't attack!

Have a super Saturday, dear lady!

Great post!

X

Valerie said...

Good evening, Ron. I thought I'd better dress it up, hopefully to make it more interesting. It was certainly interesting to watch.

Jenny Woolf said...

It is always so interesting watching nature in action. Thanks for this vignette, Valerie

Banker Chick said...

I love watching my birds at the feeder and bird bath, we have been keeping the bath full since it has been so hot. The dogs are pretty good about not bothering them. But Gwennie likes to shew them off when she first comes out. Every one is all aflutter. They keep coming back.