Thursday, April 5, 2012

Advanced Ecology Lab Week 10: Spring Break Edition!! (...or....the Tod on the hunt).

Well, the students were all gone last week for Spring Break.  They went off to enjoy warm places, I suppose.  I, on the other hand, was able to view spring break as a time to actually get caught up on work (how different life becomes when you're a responsible adult :)  ).

I did take some time to get out to the field sites we're assessing for class, and check on all of our cameras and long-term experiments, so they didn't go without attention for two weeks.

The cameras had been busily snapping photos. 
(however, I should warn anyone who clicked on this post hoping for well-bronzed skin, swimming trunks and're likely to be disappointed)

Deer, Raccoon, Eastern Cottontail, Eastern Gray Squirrel all generated many photos.

But the week, again, belonged to The Tod.

Once more, we caught pictures of him/her on nearly all of our cameras.....

We also got a great series of pics of him/her hunting the grass for something (a rodent, I'm assuming).

The critter can first be seen in the back ground (look for the eyes in the grass)....searching for something that draws him progressively closer to the cam.

....that wonderful tail......

The 10 second interval between triggers brings him right up into view......

Always have eyes in the back of your head!

....but also try not to get distracted from the task at-hand!


The semester is rapidly drawing to a close!  But there is still more to come before we pull the cameras and shut this project down for the semester.....


  1. Great fox photos. He sure likes to carry that tail high. Is there a reason they do so? Are you teaching this course again next semester or only one semester a year?

  2. That tail is gorgeous! I've heard that they use that tail as a hunting tool along the edge of a waterway...they wave it and wiggle it, creating commotion, and the ducks will come in to investigate, then the fox can catch the duck.

    Not sure how much truth there is to that, and I've never seen with my eyes or through a camera lens a fox holding its tail like this!

  3. Hi JK and Alyssa...

    I'm not entirely certain about the tail held straight up like this. The tails are important for balance while it's possible it is being held erect while the animal is pouncing on this prey item. I've also heard they will hold their tail up when on alert...or focused on something (like catching prey), but haven't verified the latter.

    Either way, it was a pretty cool capture!

    JK: I teach this course in the spring and another faculty member teaches it in the we swap. I'll certainly be doing similar exercises next spring with my students, so it will be fun to see what happens over time. Also, if my cameras don't go out for specific research projects this summer, I'll probably continue to monitor the site after the semester is done.

  4. That fox loves your cams! I've recently been seeing a red fox on my cams for the first time in years. He's a handsome dude, but I've gotten only B/W photos of him so far.

    Our bears are starting to stir... It's my favorite time of year (and not because of spring break!).

    1. KB- nice to see you commenting again :) Hang in there!

    2. Looking forward to pics of those bears!