These pups seem a little young to be outside the den. Typically they stay hidden for about a month, by then their coat has started turning a sandy color. The adult red fox is a surprisingly small mammal, weighing less than 15 pounds. It's luxurious tail makes up one-third of its length.
After the pair mate in late December, the female establishes several den sites in case she moves the pups, which is not uncommon. Sure enough, a few days ago, this mother suddenly moved all the pups. Perhaps the den was too crowded or perhaps there was some disturbance. Apparently wild turkeys were active around the den; that combined with nearby road traffic may have prompted the move. Here she is toting the pups to some new, unknown location.
Spring continues its slow roll-out and yet signs of spring are emerging. I heard wood frogs "quacking" from woodland pools on Friday. A phoebe returned, although not yet to our yard. A tree swallow soared over a wetland, while twenty painted turtles basked on logs at the water's edge. We've enjoyed our over-wintered spring spinach in two salads. The delicious texture and flavor of this fresh garden spinach is so vastly superior to store-bought packaged stuff. Note to self: plant more spinach next fall.