It seems a long time ago now that Fern first appeared with her four cubs in the field, back in early summer. At this time of year, my foxes only visit after dark and it is almost impossible to tell who is who. In the last few nights, I have had at least four foxes at once at the feeding station. There is often a lot of bickering, posturing and arguing and the only way you can really begin to tell these individuals apart is by their behaviour.
There is certainly a more dominant individual who will often feed on his own, with the others waiting in the background. This will be a male and I am presuming it is one of the cubs. If it was a new male, then he would not tolerate the other cubs around. The others could be female cubs (from both last year and the year before) and my original vixen, Fern. Fern often sits in the background whilst the youngsters eat and then comes in and feeds, in a relaxed fashion, without ‘grabbing and going’. She sometimes sits down to eat too.
In the clip below, you can see two of the youngsters rearing up on their hind legs, half-hearted ‘fighting’ and bickering, as siblings do. Also watch out for the submissive, low posturing by the female and less dominant individuals. It is fascinating watching these individuals as the more you watch them, the more you learn.
Usually the male cubs leave the family around early winter and move off to establish their own territories. The young females sometimes remain with the vixen and help raise the next set of cubs. This was the case with my family earlier in the year. My ‘usual’ male, however has not been seen for quite a while. He is very distinctive with a scarred face, which even showed up on the night cams. His absence may explain why the young male cubs are still around.
I hope a new male turns up soon though, as with the fox mating season almost upon us, I am hoping for a new family of cubs for spring 2012.
These foxes visit anywhere from about 6.30pm onwards at the moment… and let’s keep our fingers crossed for some exciting footage next year… my aim is to get a pan and zoom cam for this area next year… anyone got one they would like me to trial??!!!!