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Red fox den

Where Do Foxes Sleep In The Winter?

If you pick up just about any book on Red Fox behavior, you will read that as a general rule they do not seek shelter when they sleep, even during cold winter nights. They are more apt to sleep in an open, exposed area unless the wind is blowing hard, in which case they will find a protected spot such as their den (see inset). In most winter conditions they typically choose a slightly elevated patch of ground, curl up in a ball, tuck their noses under their tails and sleep with nothing more between them and the elements than a dense coat of hair.  

When they sleep, foxes only do so for 15 – 25 seconds at a time, waking up and looking around before going back to sleep.  In dense cover, a fox allows itself to go into a deeper sleep, waking every hour or so to look and listen for potential danger. (Photos: Red Fox bed at base of tree; (inset) Red Fox den, revisited after the first winter storm.)

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Black-capped Chickadee Robbing Peter To Pay Paul

b-c chickadee 1B0A9061The time for nest-building has arrived for Black-capped Chickadees. They most often choose dead aspens and birches as nesting trees, and the punkier the wood the better so that the birds can easily excavate a cavity with their small beaks. While both male and female create the nest hole, the female builds the nest within the cavity by herself.

Most chickadee nests are used only once, and consist of coarse material such as moss for the foundation and finer, softer material such as the hair of rabbits or deer for the lining. The pictured chickadee is only a day or two away from laying eggs, for she is collecting shed fur from red fox kits (they grow three different coats on their way to maturity – gray, sand-colored and red) for the lining of her nest. She found a bonanza of nesting material on the dirt mound at the entrance of an active fox den, where the kits spend much of their time. (Thanks to Jim Block for photo op.)

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