THIS UNUSUAL BEHAVIOUR IS FOXING ME
QHas anyone encountered similar behaviour with Little Egrets and Foxes living in ‘harmony’? This Little Egret walked over to the Fox and the Fox sat quite still, only moving to dabble in the water exactly where the bird had done so. He often walks past the Little Egret without glancing and the bird never moves. Deborah Hart
AWe haven’t seen exactly this sort of behaviour before, but there seems to be some sort of symbiotic relationship going on here. From your description, the Fox seems to be trying to grab fish that the egret has disturbed but not caught. So, although the Fox might try to make a meal of the bird if nothing else was on offer, he’s willing here to take the much more low-risk option (imagine the damage the egret’s bill could do him) which presumably results in a steady stream of smaller food items. Not for nothing do Foxes have a reputation for cunning! Sometimes different bird species use each other in similar fashion. Other small birds often feed close to Stonechats, which are particularly wary and give loud alarm calls from a prominent perch. Presumably the extra safety is adequate compensation for the food they miss out on to the Stonechat.