Natural Observations-10-21-2012-Canid encounters

Red fox vixen, photo by Robin Song


Host and producer Robin Song has coyotes and foxes in her neighborhood, and she tells about what “medicine” they bring. Text follows audio.





While heading out to the barn on the morning of October 12th, I was stopped in my tracks by the sound of a coyote yapping. I was dog-sitting a big German Shepherd/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, and “Mac”, Lyra and I stood listening to the calls in the darkness. The coyote sounded like it was just past the last of the three commercial greenhouses, and its calls were loud and clear in the cold early morning air. In a few moments a second coyote yapped from the hay field to our right. It too was close, sounding just past the fence line along the garden. The two called back and forth for awhile, and I could imagine the poultry, perched on the fence of their pen next to Jody the mare’s corral, were listening too. No doubt their eyes were wide and their hearts were beating fast. They would be moving to their winter quarters soon, but for now they were vulnerable to predators. I decided to lead Mac along the fence line of their pen, letting him mark territory along the route. He did so, as only an alpha male canine can. I hoped this would deter the coyotes from coming in to check out the poultry.


There was a spectacular sunrise behind the Talkeetna Mountains as I went about my morning chores, and I didn’t hear the coyotes again. I had errands to run in Talkeetna, and it was late in the day when I made my way back to the ranch. I turned onto Birch Creek Road with the sun setting behind me. The road was already in shadow when I caught sight of an animal up ahead, about two miles up the road. I slowed and saw that it was a red fox. As I rolled the car along, camera out the window, the vixen walked back and forth across the road, pausing a couple of times to mark territory. She seemed totally unimpressed with the vehicle approaching her, even though two dogs had their heads out the windows, watching her intently. She would stop once in awhile, sniffing the dirt, then raising her head to look at us. Once she jogged across the road and started up the steep slope on the south side. But she stopped. After a few moments she turned and came back down the slope and walked back out onto the road. Again she stopped to sniff the dirt. I snapped photos as she casually headed on across the road, turning to stand and look past us down the road, her black-tipped ears swiveling to catch sounds only she could hear. Her thick winter coat was a rich russet and her tail was so long that the white tip dragged on the ground. Her hind legs were striking, with the white on the inner legs going all the way down to her paws. Usually foxes have black stockings going part way up their legs, but each fox can be an individual, and this one had a lot of white on her. She was lovely and her beauty captured me. Not a blemish on the white fur of her throat and chest, not a hair out of place. Her golden eyes were bright, even in the ambient light. She was in perfect health and looked like she’d had a wonderful summer. As she calmly turned and jogged up the road, eventually veering off and vanishing into the forest, I wished her a great winter.


Later that evening, as I went out to the barn to close Jody’s corral gate and give her some grain, I heard the pair of coyotes calling from the far end of the north east hay field. Apparently having Mac mark territory along the fence line had helped; all the hens and turkeys were accounted for. It was a day for crossing paths with wild canids and I was honored.


In the Animal Medicine Cards the Coyote is the Trickster. There is a lot of information about Coyote, and the gist of this Medicine is to laugh at yourself. “Coyote always comes calling when things get too serious. The Medicine is in laughter and joking so that new viewpoints may be assumed.”


The Fox has the gift of camouflage. “Fox Medicine involves adaptability, cunning, observation, integration, and swiftness of thought and action. This Medicine also includes quick decisiveness, and sure-footedness in the physical world. If Fox has chosen to share its Medicine with you, it is a sign that you are to become like the wind, which is unseen yet is able to weave into and through any location or situation. Fox Medicine teaches the art of Observation through its understanding of camouflage. This applies on all levels, from rocks to God. With Fox Medicine, you are being asked to see all types of uses for Oneness.”


As we move into winter, I look forward to more chances to observe coyotes and foxes as they come to the hay fields to hunt voles and snowshoe hares. We’ve already had some spectacular Aurora displays, and I hope all these encounters are the harbinger of a winter full of wonderful natural observations.


By Robin Song



Canid Encounters

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