Wildlife Photos: Trail Camera on a Fox Den

'Ya gotta' love spring turkey season for a whole armful of reasons. Sure, hearing and seeing gobbler and hen activity is the primary reason we're out there, but spring brings so many bonus moments along with it. While scouting for birds in the past few weeks alone, I was fortunate enough to see two moose, a couple of bears, breeding bobcats, an untold number of grouse and woodcock, and perhaps coolest of all, an active red fox den. I was first tipped off to the location of the den last spring when I spotted a couple of kits sitting out in the middle of a backwoods dirt road near a stream bank. They scampered into their den and though I looked for their hide for several minutes, I was unable to pinpoint its location. When precisely the same events transpired last week, I paid closer attention to their escape route. Eureka! I found the entry hole and quickly set up a trail camera to record what transpired next. This shot of a weeks-old kit staring at the camera was first.
Peak breeding for red foxes takes place in January and February. About 52 days later, females give birth to 1 to 12 kits--3 to 6 are most common. Born blind and helpless, kits are weaned by week 12 when they learn to hunt for themselves. These two kits are consistently hung near the mouth of their den, waiting for their meals to be delivered.
Both males and females play a role in rearing the kits.
Although the kits seemed unconcerned about the trail camera, the adult foxes were ever wary of the red glow/flash of the camera.
Kits scamper back to the den under the ever-watchful eye of an adult. The camera captured dozens of similar photographs with glowing eyes in the background.
An adult returns to the den to keep an eye on precocious kits. Dens commonly have multiple entrances and emergency exits.
This adult, apparently fresh from the hen house, with an order of chicken fingers--feathers and all.
Later the same night, a chipmunk is dropped off for the youngsters.
I couldn't resist dropping a steak bone off at the den. It took a little while for the kits to warm up to free meal that no doubt smelled of human scent, but it disappeared down the den hole.
Trouble with a capital "T." There's not a ton of reputable data available on the interaction between foxes and coyotes although it's been well documented that there is an inverse population relationship between the two species. Where coyote numbers are high, fox numbers are low and vice versa. It appears that coyotes aren't willing to share their turf and don't hesitate to punish offenders. And this photo just might be evidence of the turf war.
It seems as if this coyote is has been here before and knows almost exactly where to look to find an easy meal of a fox kit.
As previously mentioned, red fox litters typically consist of 3 to 6 kits. There are only two kits at this den site. Have other kits been picked off? I've left my trail camera on the den site to record what happens in the weeks to come.

We found the entry hole of a spring fox den and quickly set up a trail camera to record the kits' activity. Here's what we came up with.