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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Carcass visitors -- days 12-14

Two new dogs showed up 6 hours after the goshawk's brief inspection. By now the hindquarters and viscera had been eaten, leaving only the cannon bones and the front half of the carcass. They fed for a half hour and left, and no one visited the rest of the night.

The next morning (day 12) the gray fox came at 6:25, and spent nearly 50 minutes feeding and caching. Here it has a scrap in its mouth.

Then it drops it on the ground.

In other pictures it looks like it's using its nose to push leaves over the scrap.

It snowed that night.

On day 13 the dogs were back at noon and fed for two hours.

There were no visitors that night, but a little after 7:00 the next morning (day 14) a gray fox visited about ten minutes. It seems to schedule its visits around the dogs' working hours.

At 7:00 that night the dogs returned and fed for another 2 hours. They were adept at peeling the skin from the leg bones, and I suspect they finished the head, except for a few pieces of mandible. They clearly know how to make a living without kibbles.

At 11:30 that night the fox visited again and for the first time in three years I got an image of two foxes together. Makes sense for a monogamous canid. I suspect I've been looking at two different animals all along.

As you can see there was very little left of the carcass, but the show wasn't over yet.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow you'll see who was late for dinner.


Words said...

This has been a fascinating series of posts. Interesting to see the fox caching food. They're excellent at covering over their store in the way you describe (with the nose). It can be difficult to spot where they've left things (even if you watch them do it).

Camera Trap Codger said...

Thanks so much for the comment, Words. I admire your photos and enjoy your observations. Now that I have acquired a Canon XTi I will be trying to imitate your flight shots of birds!