Although birds are the easiest wildlife to see from the house, we get our share of mammals as well. One species that we don’t have any photos of is the mountain lion. While Zell has only once spotted a mountain lion around where he was working, we know that they are probably always around. One summer, a deer carcass spent a few days in the wash near the house; we could smell it and it was likely that a mountain lion had stashed it there while it finished it off over several days. After about 3 days, the carcass was gone. Thank goodness.
A second unphotographed mammal species that we know is around is the bobcat. We’ve only seen one a time or two on the road, coming back to the house in the dark—just a flash across the road caught in the headlights. However, we have heard them in late summer after dark, most likely communicating with young. Macauley Library has this recording, which matches what we heard.
Below are photos of the mammals that visit the bird feeders and the environs with some regularity—and that we’ve been able to get photos of.
A gray fox pair likely dens somewhere on our property. During breeding season, we can smell the musk (smells like a less intense skunk odor). Gray foxes like to eat bird seed, so it’s not uncommon for us to see evidence of them around the feeders. Usually they only come by after dusk, unlike red foxes, which are more diurnal. (You can easily differentiate a gray fox and a red fox if you can see the tip of its tail: A gray fox always has a black-tipped tail while a red fox always has a white-tipped tail.) However, one summer afternoon, I got a video of one under the bird feeders. It always amazes us just how slight and cat-like these adorable canines are.
Normally, the foxes are silent. But during one summer, we were awakened several nights in a row with what we later determined to be a gray fox “barking” outside the house. (Sounded more like a woman hollering—a bit unnerving!) The YouTube video below (not ours) has audio that captures this sound well.