Gray Fox Report: August 2022

Coyote Comes Calling

Submitted by William C. Leikam
President, CEO & Co-founder
Urban Wildlife Research Project
A 501 C (3) Nonprofit Corporation
wcleikam@gmail.com

Usually when a coyote comes into the baylands, it is simply passing through. Oh, it may hang out for two, maybe three days, but as far as I can tell, they don’t hunt very much. Instead, they explore.

On August 28th, this coyote pictured here came into the Matadero Creek area and the overflow channel to hunt. Coyotes prey on gray foxes. The one defense that these gray foxes have over the coyote is their ability to climb trees. The red foxes on the other hand are vulnerable.

During that night the foxes, both red and gray, cried out warnings about this coyote. The trail cameras recorded these warnings for approximately 6 hours. Since that time and most especially on the morning of September 3rd, I heard the local gray foxes filling the early morning with their warning barks. Hearing the foxes put up such a long distress cry, is a first for the baylands.

It appears as if the red fox population is on the decline. Whereas in the beginning there were four red foxes, on the last day of August there was but one passing before our trail cameras.

Gray Foxes General Health

These two foxes appear to be in good health. The previous indication that one of them may have worms has not proven to be the case.

Total Numbers of Gray Foxes in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve

As of this date, we have two adult gray foxes living in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

Section II

Update for the Urban Wildlife Research Project

A new video documentary about my work with the foxes and produced at Stanford University can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16bByDVEuKI&ab_channel=UrbanWildlifeResearchProject

Bill’s new book The Road to Fox Hollow has been released and can be found at Barnes & Noble Booksellers and directly from the publisher Di Angelo Publications at https://www.diangelopublications.com/books/the-road-to-fox-hollow. This is your best deal.

Dr. Marc Bekoff has an interview with Bill and that can be accessed at The Social and Emotional Lives of Urban Gray Foxes .

Bay Nature Magazine – How to be a Fox, the article about Bill and his ethological approach to his study of the gray fox is online here: https://baynature.org/article/how-to-be-a-fox/ Many are calling this a major article in the wildlife press.

BE SURE TO check out our YouTube Channel for some incredible wildlife videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ujc7p8dU1-O5AbPAWz2_Q and our Facebook page.  

See Discipline Raccoon Style here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdZbMGlkzEk

Bill has an additional live event coming up at Safari West in October. He will be live at Safari West https://www.safariwest.com/ in the Elephant Room.

Undoubtedly the best Radio interview ever – KALW (PBS program Crosscurrents) – by Sofie Kodner during December 2020 – Broadcast 1/11/2021 5:00 PM. Check it out here https://www.kalw.org/post/bay-area-wildlife-habitats-are-disappearing-fox-guy-has-plan

You can access Bill’s PowerPoint presentation Corridors & Connections: Sustaining the Health of All Wildlife presented during the October 24th P-22 Urban Wildlife Festival here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh4MQL1D1Cc

NEW – To find out more about us, search Urban Wildlife Research Project, UWRP, gray foxes, wildlife connection, linkages, corridors and several documentaries including the video clips.

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Section III: Gray Fox, Baylands Goals

Within the permit that allows the Urban Wildlife Research Project to conduct its study of the behavior of the gray fox at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, the objectives covered area:

  • Monitoring of urban gray fox Denning sites in Palo Alto Baylands.

This is being accomplished during the period when the gray foxes use a den site. It is one of the prime locations for gathering most of the behavioral data of the litter and for adults alike.

  • Assessment of status and population trends of Baylands urban gray foxes

Since January 2019 a pair of resident gray foxes have claimed territory at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

  • Identification of habitat features that promote the presence of urban gray foxes

After considering this and talking with people who know how to restore habitats, we need to assess what kinds of plants, including the Alkaline Salt Bush, would grow best along the edge of the saltwater channel and alongside the marsh. We need to grow a permanent habitat that contains the corridors and plant it as soon as possible. We’ll keep an eye on this as this is a critical link between the southern region of the Baylands and the northern region.

  • Assessment of reproductive success and identification of factors that promote successful reproduction

Open up the pinch-point along Matadero Creek by developing thickets that link one area to another, instead of the present “islands”.

  • Identification and assessment of possible dispersal travel routes.

Presently there can only be guesses as to dispersal travel routes. We intend to make this important question much more concrete when we attain our collaring/take/capture permit from the Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Sincerely,
Bill Leikam – The Fox Guy
CEO & President,
Urban Wildlife Research Project
A Nonprofit 501 C3
UrbanWildlifeResearchProject.com