I scribbled this down yesterday, just before racing off to work:
Monday 9:40am. Saw a smallish brindle fox sprint across the back yard, pursued by 4 magpies. They were our resident magpies, and they chased that fox right off the premises…theirs & mine.
Just before jumping over the side fence the fox stopped & seemed to look straight at me, despite being inside the house & 40 metres away.
I think it heard the whistle of my kettle as it came up to boil. Whatever the truth of it, by the time I turned back to the window from the stove, the fox was gone.
I wish I could have taken a photo for you, but it all happened too quickly. Instead, I went looking for photos online and found these:
The image of the brindle fox is courtesy of http://www.wildlifeonline.me.uk/red_fox.html and is exactly the odd mottled, brownish colour of the fox I saw. I love foxes but know nothing about them. Is this colour a seasonal thing? Or is it perhaps a sign of immaturity?
The image of a magpie swooping is courtesy of http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2015/09/how-to-survive-magpie-swooping-season/.
When the Offspring was little, we were both swooped by magpies while out for a walk. I was terrified [for the Offspring], but since moving out to Warrandyte I’ve learned a lot about magpies. I’ve seen them swoop the dog and the cats, but only during breeding season. The rest of the time the maggies ignore them as creatures beneath contempt. And I’ve seen maggies hound a young possum out of a tree [where there was a nest?] so I know these birds are fierce when they want to be.
But I’ve also seen my maggies conscientiously feeding and teaching their young:
This image is courtesy of https://www.trevorsbirding.com/baby-magpie/
And believe me, maggies are smart. When I throw out stale bread for them, or some scraps of meat, the first one on the scene will warble an alert and in moments, their young will come to feed. Maybe that’s why they treat me like a member of the family. In loco parentis?
I’ve never been swooped out in the garden. Not even once. Somehow, the maggies whose territory I share know I’m a friend, and as the story of the fox shows, they know when to protect ‘our’ domain. Much as I love foxes I don’t want Mogi, my tiny chihuahua-cross dog to be snatched up one day when the hunting has been poor.
So yesterday I went to work with a smile on my face. There are times when I love Warrandyte so much it hurts. 🙂