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.”

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.

Dinner with the Ospreys

Dinner with the Ospreys

Can’t Wait, photo by Jiafan(John) Xu

Osprey Watch of Southeast Michigan shares some information about Michigan Osprey:

An Osprey is a large bird with a length of 22-25 inches, a wingspan of 4.5-6 feet, and a weight of approximately four pounds. The Osprey has a dark brown back and a white belly, as well as a white head, which features a dark stripe running from its yellow eyes to the back of its head. Female Ospreys are slightly larger than males and may sport a dark speckled necklace

..The Osprey dines almost exclusively on live fish, often catching its meals by hovering over the water at an altitude of 50 to 200 feet, then diving feet first into the water to catch its prey. The Osprey’s feet are uniquely adapted to “air fishing.” Each Osprey foot has a reversible front toe, as well as barbs, called spicules, which help it hold onto a slippery fish in flight. Normally, an Osprey will aerodynamically position a fish headfirst in its talons before it returns to the nest.

These talons definitely look like fish hooks – read on for more!

View Jiafan’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow where you can also see shots from a trip out west.

More Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.

Summer White-tail

Summer Whitetail by Arnie Bracy

Summer Whitetail, photo by Arnie Bracy

Arnie quietly paddled his kayak closer to get this awesome shot of our state animal, the White-tailed deer on the shore of Hamlin Lake. View it bigger and see more in his Summer slideshow.

More white-tailed deer on Michigan in Pictures including this cool pic of a white-tail grabbing a drink in the fall.

Platte River Bald Eagle Nest Cam

Platte River Eagle Cam

Michigan Eagle Cam, photo via Carbon TV

Carbon and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are collaborating on a cool webcam of a nesting pair of bald eagles in Benzie County. mLive explains:

Cameras are pointed at a pair of nesting bald eagles in residence at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery. The large nest is 100 feet above the ground, along the Platte River in Benzie County.

Carbon Media Group alerted viewers earlier this week that incubation time is almost up, and that small holes called “pips” that parents make in the shells can be seen on two of the eggs.

“This pair of eagles have been regular visitors to this nest for the past three years,” Ed Eisch, DNR fish production manager, has said.

Click to view the live camera – which makes a really soothing background soundtrack – and also to check out video clips including an eagle adjusting the eggs from the photo above and visits by owls and pine martens!

Best Friends in Nature: Crayfish & Green Frog Edition

Best Friends Crayfish & Green Frog

Crayfish & Green Frog, photo by John Heintz Jr.

The next installment of the critically acclaimed Michigan in Pictures exclusive “Best Friends in Nature” series. I believe what these two have in common is a long list of shared predators, so this could well be a pond-side support group meeting. ;)

View John’s photo bigger and see more of his cool wildlife photos. Seriously, I feel like he’s the long-lost nephew of Doctor Doolittle when I look at his photos!

More animals on Michigan in Pictures, and also more about the Northern Green Frog.

Fawn Finding Forest Fast

Fawn Finding Forest Fast, photo by jdehmel

We’ve all heard of f-stops, but look at this fawn f-GO!! Here are a couple of fun fawn facts from Outdoor Life:

  • Fawns average 6-8 lbs. at birth
  • Fawns are capable of walking within a few hours
  • Does usually remain within 100 yards of their fawns
  • A 3-week-old fawn can outrun most danger
  • The average number of spots on a fawn is 300

View Jeff’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

More Michigan fauna and more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.