Fox Kit Friday

Fox Kit, photo by David Marvin

Spring is also baby animal season in Michigan, so here’s a little about baby foxes and what to do if you encounter one from Friends of Wildlife in Ann Arbor:

There are two species of fox in Michigan, the Red and the Gray. The Red prefer meadow areas and the Gray favor woods.

As with most wildlife, the kits are born in early spring. The vixen (female fox) chooses a hollow log, an empty woodchuck hole or a roadside culvert for the nursery. This nest site provides her young protection from predators, especially coyotes. The male fox helps with the rearing by bringing the vixen food while she nurses their young and keeps the kits warm. Then later in the kits development both parents teach them how to forage for food.

The foxes diet consists mainly of small rodents, moles and bugs. The benefits that foxes afford farmland, orchards and the general public is their consumption of these invasive pests. It is an absolute miss conception that fox eat cats, dogs or small children.They are very curious creatures but avoid contact with domestic animals and humans.

When fox kits are first born, their eyes and ears are closed, they remain secluded in their den with their mother. As they develop, at about one month, they start venturing out to play, attacking twigs, leaves and their siblings, but never far from the protection of the den.

If you do find an infant fox, please contact them for further instructions and see their website for information about other species!

View the photo background bigtacular and see more including some shots of these kiddos walking around in David’s slideshow.

PS: David has a video too. He writes: “Please note that the video was taken from quiet a distance away with a high power lens so as to avoid as much human contact with the kits.”

Turtles don’t care about personal space

Apparently turtles have no concept of “my personal space”, photo by Dale Devries

Regular readers are aware that World Turtle Day is a big favorite of mine. It takes place a week from today on Tuesday, May 23rd, and I’m extra excited for this year as I will post the 10th and final turtle on my list of the ten turtles native to Michigan! Be sure to tune in and definitely consider supporting American Tortoise Rescue and their World Turtle Day!

I tried to find a definitive answer as to why turtles “stack” like this. It appears to be a way for littler turtles to get more sun, but I’m curious if anyone has a definitive answer.

About the photo Dale writes:

I took an old section of dock and made a ramp up to it just above the waterline, and the turtles have voiced their approval! I have no idea why we have so many turtles here, but it must mean the lake is healthy!

View the photo background big and see more in Dale’s The Best of West Lake slideshow.

Shopping with Kevin

Kevin reading the sign, photo by Penny Thompson

OK. I know I’m REALLY heavy on birds lately, but come how can you resist??!!

A reader (Bill S) tipped me off that there was a story out there on Kevin so I have an addition:

A Michigan gas station where a rooster showed up a few months ago and refused to leave built a coop for the bird and named him Kevin. Michelle Brink, a 15-year employee of Magoo’s gas station in Paw Paw, Michigan, said the rooster first turned up on October of last year, and started making regular visits to eat the deer feed outside the store.

“After the deer feed left we thought maybe he would go home [but] he never left,” Brink told WXMI-TV. “So we’re like OK, winter’s coming, we better build him a box.”

Read on for more including a great video report featuring Kevin from UPI.

View the photo bigger and see more in Penny’s slideshow.

More funny business on Michigan in Pictures.

Possum Power!

Caught In The Headlights, photo by James Marvin Phelps

Tick season is upon us, and with the added threat of Lyme disease, it’s serious business here in Michigan. My friend Tara with the Leelanau Conservation District shared some information about opossums from Opossum Awareness & Advocacy (opossum facts image below that you can share):

Did you know that opossums eat up to 5000 ticks per season thereby reducing our risk of contracting Lyme Disease and other tick-born diseases? They kill vermin, including mice, and garden pests. They are not dirty; they are very clean animals and groom and clean as much as cats. Better still, most opossums cannot contract or spread rabies. Opossums are the United States and Canada’s only marsupials.

They may look a little scary to the uninitiated, but they are actually timid and do so much good for humans compared to most other creatures. If you see an opossum consider yourself lucky, leave it alone and please do not harm it. They have a hard time surviving in cold climates because they don’t have very thick coats. Sometimes opossums play dead because they are afraid. Please don’t hit them with your car. Spread the word and please help protect opossums!

View the photo background big and see more in James’ massive Michigan slideshow, and follow James Marvin Phelps Photography on Facebook.

Mission: Possible

Will do ANYTHING for corn, photo by Julie A Christiansen

Dare to dream!

View Julie’s photo bigger on Facebook and see more including what looks to be a shot of the landing in her Wildlife slideshow.

Black Bear Boom!

black-bear-cub

Black Bear & Cub, photo by Mark Miller

The Detroit Free Press reports that the black bear population is booming in northern Michigan:

The black bear population has risen 29 percent in the region since 2012 and almost 50 percent since 2000, according to wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson of the Department of Natural Resources.

Swanson says complaints about nuisance bears are increasing, especially in the Baldwin management unit, which extends from Muskegon County north to Leelanau County. Mlive.com says Swanson recently told the state Natural Resources Commission the bear harvest should be increased significantly in the Baldwin area.

He says the Upper Peninsula population has grown by a more manageable 11 percent since 2012. There are about 9,700 bears in the U.P. and over 15,000 statewide. Swanson is proposing a quota increase from 5,806 in 2016 to 5,925 for the 2017-18 season.

About the photo, Mark says: After yelling a quick “hey” at mama to get her to turn around, there was a moment that I wondered if I had done a dumb thing. I was about the same distance from the house, as she was to me (100 yds.) I guess me and my Nikon didn’t pose much of a threat, as they slowly went on their way.

View the photo bigger and see more in his In My Backyard slideshow.

PS: I realize that back in May of 2015, I featured another photo of this pair along with general info about black bears in Michigan.

Year of the Rooster, 2017

fonzi-the-year-of-the-rooster

fonzi | by PepOmint

2017 is the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac, and the Happy Lantern Festival travel guide explains that:

Rooster is the tenth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac sign. The Years of the Rooster include 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029

Rooster is almost the epitome of fidelity and punctuality. For ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing was significant, as it could awaken people to get up and start to work. In Chinese culture, another symbolic meaning of chicken carries is exorcising evil spirits.

People born in the Year of Rooster according to Chinese zodiac have many excellent characteristics, such as being honest, bright, communicative and ambitious. Most of them are born pretty or handsome, and prefer to dress up. In daily life, they seldom rely on others. However, they might be enthusiastic about something quickly, but soon be impassive. Thus, they need to have enough faiths and patience to insist on one thing.

PepOmint shares:

Our baby rooster, Fonzi (you know…”chicks dig him”- lol) out and about in the yard earlier…he’s grown quite tall and loves the ladies…he’s also quite the runner and can chase them down with no issue. At the moment though, he seems to have found his voice and has been in a crowing contest with our old rooster Normie for a good week though..

He is such a pretty boy :)

View the photo bigger and see more in her slideshow.