Wildlife Lesson: Surprise Seasonal Miracles


“Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.”

Charles Cook



After our very wet spring, many of our critters seemed to disappear.  We had about a dozen deer living in the woods around us.  And momma deer and her twins were spotted in early spring.  But during summer and fall, all but one deer was occasionally spotted.  It seems that the harsh winter took its toll, and many deer died.  Even hunters noted reduced numbers.





And our precious fox, Hunter, also seemed to have moved on after his den was flooded so often.  We missed them terribly.  So on Christmas, we were so surprised to see the flash of red run onto the meadow.  A ‘Christmas miracle’ my husband proclaimed.  At first, we thought it was Hunter….




DSCN1553But upon closer examination, the tale had a pure white tip, and was much darker….not Hunter.  And I think this may be a female.  So we named her, Noel, at first.  Then I remembered that a female fox is called a vixen.  So what better name for our Christmas fox than, Vixen (one of Santa’s reindeer).


She scoped out the area quickly and then we saw her white-tipped tail bid us goodbye (in the last picture below).  We also noticed her winter coat was not as thick as Hunter’s last year when it was -20 degrees.





It was rainy leading up to Christmas and one of our squirrels was out and about.  I love his umbrella tail!





And the green frogs were still not hibernating.  We saw them on Christmas, and just before New Year.  See how dark in color they are now.  They match the dark pond water.





December saw a busy time at the suet feeders….and some fighting.  It is fun to watch the pecking order as they all vie for the feeder.  This is a female Downy Woodpecker.




xmas bird collage

And other Christmas visitors included the Hairy Woodpecker (left), Goldfinch in its brownish-olive color now.  And Chickadees have been frequent visitors, along with that female Downy Woodpecker (lower right).





Our greatest surprise was seeing a deer again on Christmas Eve just before the moon rose.  We think it is one of the twins from last winter.  A small doe.  The last time we saw any deer was late spring, and I had virtually no garden damage except for lilies.  Now I see a bit of daylily foliage nibbled so this deer is about, but mostly at night.  And her winter coat is not thick, and looks pretty ratty.


So there you have some Christmas/seasonal miracle visitors….and surprises!  We feel blessed!




New Years critters

In the first few days of the New Year, Vixen has appeared and was ably hunting voles through the snow.  She (and it is definitely a female) is as good a hunter as our male foxes, if not better.  Perhaps we will see babies or kits one of these springs.

And the deer have returned.  At the first snowfall, we saw many deer tracks, and then three appeared in the meadow.  Maybe momma and her 2 children, now over a year old.  I am hopeful, in this new year, that our critters will continue to share the same habitat with us….and that we will see fawns and lots of other baby critters once again.


What wonderful critter surprises are you seeing?


With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.




I leave you with another thought about the miracles of nature.  Feel free to download the photo and share.


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

43 Replies to “Wildlife Lesson: Surprise Seasonal Miracles”

  1. Vixen is gorgeous and she certainly found the right garden to hang around. I’ve seen a few foxes over the years run across the road near our house but never hanging around. Glad the deer are back too. I suppose they must move around depending on the comfort of the habitat and food availability. So glad you shared your miracles.

    1. Yes I image the deer had to move on especially last winter where many were lost to the harsh conditions. I am so happy when the critters find our garden Karin!

  2. Will have to echo the other comments and add that Vixen is quite beautiful–great name. I assume that the fact that your frogs aren’t yet hibernating is odd? My suet feeder is also a place for bird rumbles! Thanks for such a great post.

    1. Yes Tina the frogs should be hibernating in late October even November. They hopefully hibernated by New Year when the pond finally froze. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. Hi Donna!
    Happy New Year!
    This is a beautiful big fox! I hope you do get a chance to see her kits one day in the Soring.
    I see much wildlife here, as I live in a community that is snuggled up against Colorado front range foothills. On Christmas day a big handsome Mule deer buck came into our yard.He had 10 point antlers so was an older buck I stepped our side to take a video of him and he gently walked right up to me! I put a link to both videos on my last blog post. He has been around a few times since then, obviously looking for more shrubs to eat. One day he stood still fir about 15 minutes outside my dining room windows, enjoying the sunshine on his back.
    I’ve seen foxes and coyote and even black bears here. We also know mountain lions and bobcats live in the hills but they are nocturnal and hard to spot. Rabbits, squirrels and racoon are daily visitorsas are hawks and owls and even occasional eagles.
    I love living among nature!

    1. Thanks Pat….I am hopeful we will see kits….and I adore where you live among all the wildlife. And those pictures and the video of the mule deer was amazing. I agree it is the best living among the wildlife. I hope things are good with your health and recovery! Thinking of you….

  4. It really has been a slow year for the wildlife so far. I experienced a decline starting in mid December. I am glad to hear it is picking up for you. As a wildlife photographer, I was just talking with a photographer friend of mine who also as noticed this decline. I do think the warmer weather both south and north of us and food sources free of snow cover most places has something to do with the reduction in bird sightings. The eagles I photograph each year have paired up earlier and moved on as well. The snowy owls are more north in Canada and starting our way, have changed direction northward again. From your comment on my wildlife blog, at least you are seeing the water fowl. Here in Niagara, most of the interesting ducks have left too.

    1. It is interesting how the milder weather changes our wildlife sightings Donna…and just as winter hits here, we see the upsurge. Hoping your bird sightings pick up soon. Seems like January will stick with winter temps but not lots of snow here.

  5. Of course we are blessed, first of all because we live in the country, side by side with wild animals, and not everybody are as fortunate as we are; to be able and catch them in their natural attitudes happens even more seldom and … let me say that Noel is truly gorgeous !
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful photographs,
    have a beautiful end of your week,

  6. The joy in your voice Donna, as you write about your visiting wildlife is infectious, lovely post, I hope your deer and visiting female fox continue to bring you much pleasure.

  7. Good morning, wonderful wildlife sightings. The fox Vixen is beautiful, I love that white-tipped tail. Cute shots of your deer and frog. Great post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your weekend!

  8. Wonderful critter post! I could not see most of the photos but I so enjoyed the narrative, and clicked over to a link when I could.

  9. That fox really looks like a miracle. My first thought was it was a hybrid between a dog and a squirrel, how so beautiful. If only it can be domesticated as a pet!

    1. It hit last night and is still coming down….lots of lake effect. We have a t least 6 inches probably at east a foot or more during the day today….schools are closed and we are hunkered down for the long haul. But I love it and I know many critters do too especially the fox….they can hunt easily now.

  10. Deer numbers were reduced in Maine this year, too; and, like you, I had almost no deer damage in my garden. I haven’t seen fox here in a while, but I have seen their tracks in the snow. It’s a relief to finally have what seems like normal winter weather.

  11. I do enjoyed this post. I too like how the squirrel uses its tail as an umbrella. What an amazing Creator we have. I also love the fox. Lately we’ve seen fox, deer, squirrels, coyotes, and bunnies, not to mention all the birds. They’re wonderful creatures that I believe God put us in charge of protecting. We are to be good stewards of his creation. (We don’t see the fox as often, but I’m always thrilled when I see him.)

  12. It is wonderful to live in an environment where you can see wildlife! We have 2 squirrels and plenty of birds, but no Hunter!

  13. We live on 4 acres in Fort Bend County, Texas, new theTexas Gulf Coast. We see many deer, raccoons, possum, armadillos but we have never seen a fox. They maybe around but in the 12 years we have been here, we have never seen one. It would be a miracle indeed if we were to see one! Thank you for the lovely photos!

  14. I love all of this. I am surprised every time I see a wild animal …and happy! Vixen is a perfect name for your beautiful Christmas miracle. Wonderful post and the poem at the end is perfect … My feelings exactly .

  15. I’m glad your wildlife has returned Donna, even if the fox is a different one. I’ve seen tracks across our pond to the open water but not sure what is visiting and having a drink. The only thing I see in the yard is lots of birds and the bunnies that come out at dusk.

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