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Spot the Bird, canine edition

Our fence had some extra height this morning, and a glorious tail.  Do you see the fur anomaly?  I’m pretty sure it sees you.

It was obliging, and let itself be fully revealed.  Such a kitty-dog!  That’s a 6-foot wall it leaped upon with little effort.  They regularly use the block walls in the neighborhood like geometric trails, navigating nimbly with neat-nailed feet, safely above the jaws of coyotes and the hubbub of dogs.

So — finally! — photos of the neighborhood Gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus).  E was in the right place at the right time, or the fox was, depending on your viewpoint.

Here’s another shot.  LOOK AT THAT TAIL!!!!!

The tail is key — here’s a bit reposted from an earlier post on our gray foxes:


Foxes are canids, but not Canis, the genus of dogs, wolves, coyotes, and jackals. The Gray fox has its own genus: Urocyon, which is from Greek ὀυρά, tail, and κύων, dog. Its species is cinereoargenteus, from Latin cinis, ash, plus L. argenteus, of silver. Put them together, and its name means “silvery ashy-black dog-tail“. In case you’re wondering, the genus of the Red fox and other “true foxes” is Latin Vulpes, meaning “fox”, which does NOT give us our word “fox.” That is said to be derived through Old English from Old German fukh (the modern German word for fox is fuchs), derived from the Proto-Indo-European root puk- which means “tail.”

Posted by Allison on Aug 16th 2012 07:18 am | 5 Comments
| View furbearers,natural history,spot the bird,yard list category

5 Responses to “Spot the Bird, canine edition”

  1. kate mckinnonon 16 Aug 2012 at 7:53 am link comment

    Awesome beyond belief! Let’s go witch up some coatis while you are in Tucson.

  2. Hannaon 16 Aug 2012 at 8:53 pm link comment

    Gorgeous!!!!! What a lucky sighting of a wonderful creature.

    We saw a gray fox yesterday on our drive back from Taos. Ran across the road ahead of us, then perched on the roadside hill and watched us go past. It always feels magical to see a fox, somehow.

  3. Allisonon 17 Aug 2012 at 6:17 am link comment

    Exactly the way I feel, Hanna! Although seeing a coyote is great, it’s never as other-wordly as seeing a sleek fox.

  4. kaye murphyon 17 Aug 2012 at 9:09 pm link comment

    There had to be some major concentration going on whilst growing that tail. So beautiful.

  5. sueon 18 Aug 2012 at 10:26 pm link comment

    gorgeous. saw a slender (young?) bobcat on the trail behind us at Oso Flaco Lake near the Oceano dunes this a.m. Someone had a spotting scope so we got a great look at it. yummy. Pretty spotty chest but plain grey sides. Those ear tips!

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