12 April 2022
Talk to me for more than ten minutes in a pub booth or cafe, and there’s a good chance I’m going to find a way to bring up foxes.
My obsession with them only grows stronger year-on-year and I may or may not have multiple browser tabs open as I write this with titles like “the secret life of urban foxes” and “red fox sounds and calls”.
A couple of years ago, some things weren’t going well in my life. One night, I came home from a late dinner and found myself locking eyes with a fox scaling my garden wall as I drank a glass of water. He froze, as did I mid-sip. That was just the start. For weeks, I saw them all around Dublin.
I remember someone told me at that time that seeing these urban predators was a sign that something needed to change in my life. Luckily, they did and almost as if on cosmic cue, I stopped seeing them.
Nowadays, I keep my eyes peeled for a fox as soon as the inky dusk falls. This time around it’s not for nature’s permission slip to shake things up, but just for the joy of it.
Alongside this one-woman fox appreciation campaign I’ve been leading is my love of crows. That all kicked off when I stayed with my parents one Christmas and noticed how many of them perched in the back garden trees. They feel other-worldly to me. I love it if one hops up on a fence or branch and inspects what I’m up to.
Most recently, I’ve found myself gravitating towards whales. I also heard something mind-boggling about bumble bees yesterday and am itching to find out more about plants.
All of this is to say – our biodiversity is not only a life-sustaining aspect of our planet. It can also give us brief glimpses of wonder we didn’t even know were in store.
The above-mentioned foxes and crows are of course part of this mosaic, but they by no means face the threats so many of our species do. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve published pieces about hen harriers, lesser horseshoe bats, golden eagles and basking sharks. All of them have their own quirks, and all of them continue to remain in a precarious position.
And one of my favourite things to do when researching for these articles is to ask people what they love most about the species-at-hand. There’s always some sort of charming behaviour or not-yet-determined aspect to them that I’m informed of. To put it inadequately – these creatures are amazing.
We’re going to be featuring a lot more about biodiversity and the emergency it’s in over the next coming months – and we’d love to publish any 100-word accounts you have about the nature you come across and how your interactions have gone. No plant, insect, mammal, amphibian, or aquatic creature is off limits.
Have something in mind? Pop it into this form and you might see it up here someday soon. I can’t wait to read them.
And in the meantime, if you see any foxes – tell them I say hi.