A friend of mine that used to work at the Field Museum now lives up north in Marquette, MI. This person was the one that first connected me with the zoology department and I have been volunteering there ever since; something I will always be grateful to him for. The museum has been seeing some really rough times these last few years, and the research and curatorial staff have taken painful hits. As a result he and many others were let go. It looks like it's happening again, and you can read about new proposed cuts here, and sign the petition.
Anyway I didn't really intend this post to be about that today, and will address it more fully in a later post. My friend that is in Marquette recently set up a night camera to view the nocturnal wildlife around his home, and posted a screen cap of a gray fox his camera had captured to his FB page. The fox looked like some ethereal night spirit, trotting though the falling snow. I had seen many red foxes, but never a gray. His photo was black and white due to the night vision of the camera, but the telltale sign that it was a gray fox was the dark tipped tail with a darkened stripe running the length of it. Grays are a different species from Reds. U. cinereoargenteus is a more primitive species of fox, and less widespread than the Red in the northeastern US. And unlike most other canids, it has the ability to climb trees.
On another note, my daughter turned two at the beginning of January. I am so proud of her, and I am so proud to be her mama. One of the unexpected joys of becoming a parent, was the deeper connection I felt to the natural world. That primal instinct to nurture and protect one's offspring I now shared not just with my human family, but with so many other animals.
Hope the rest of your week is lovely!