Animal Dilemmas – Fox Killdeer
The killdeer colony grew and saturated the enclave with life. Nests were built on top of old nests, generations of birds spent their lives gazing at the whale’s skeleton. Hunter giants fired their shotguns to add fat to their rice. From the piles of feces new plants grew from seeds brought from far lands. But the animal that benefited the most from the colony was local of this lands – the fox.
Foxes were common on the rocky shore line living in small forests and hunting anything from mice and baby rabbits to young birds. In harsh times they wound even wander into the towns dragging out hens by their necks from the giant’s barns. Giants were not passive to this intrusion and often shot the beasts making fashionable neck scarfs from their fur. Even leaving the head with teeth and eyes at one end of the scarf hanging over their shoulders.
So even though they spent most of their time hunting and scavenging, the limited resources in the area had made the fox population stagnate. That is why the new bird colony attracted their attention. It was god-sent. They could smell it for miles and converged on it in groups. However, the first fox to discover this new source of food lived near by and was skinny and hungry.
In only a matter of weeks it has eaten so many baby killdeers that it doubled its weight. This was in the first days of the killdeer colony when young inexperienced birds, new to the area just build their nest on the ground. The prime cliff side terraces inaccessible to beasts were already occupied by the inceptors of the colony. They were birds of much the same kind but full of pride and ego because chance has rendered them greedier.
The fox number-one had grown stronger and its ego had followed suit. When packs of foxes arrived to the area seeking better hunting grounds, it had been hostile and successfully had demanded their respect. But respect, pride and abundance of food were never enough. The Fox was always hungry for more of all three. In one it its quest for thrills it had entered a barn on the edge of town in order to diversify its diet and feed its ego.
The barn had a chicken she attached to it, but inside was a winery. Giants had laid out multiple barrels of fermenting must. The Fox jumped form barrel to barrel skillfully like a smooth criminal. Its was light and quick. But a random lid of a barrel along the way was less fastened than the others and it gave in, flipped over and the Fox fell into the hissing wine.
Its mass multiplied by its speed-squared produced energy enough to send it to the bottom of the barrel. It hit the bed of grape stems and skins and bounced back kicking and kicking. It swallowed enough wine to get a giant drunk asleep. It kicked to the surface gasping for airs, soaked in wine and drunk. Luckily a lump of dried must was floating in the hissing wine. The Fox climbed over it effortfully and sprang out to the edge of the barrel and then to the barn floor.
It was confused and disoriented for a very long time. It aborted its quest for chicken and started slowly back. Luckily no giants saw it otherwise they would have skinned it and made a winter hat.
The Fox was sluggish for the next few days. It fact it never completely recovered its witty tongue and crisp moves. It became lame of sorts. It talked to itself and when it talked to others it sounded crazy and didn’t make much sense. Birds eluded it easily and even laughed at it. It started loosing weight and strength and its social status declined.
Other foxes avoided it, for it scared away potential prey. The lame Fox became a loner, an eccentric outcast. Its mind could see the future and had insights into the purpose of being itself. But that didn’t serve it well in the world of kill to eat. Somehow its neurons became a melange that could grasp the universe, but not day-to-day survival.
The Fox got convinced that the only birds worth eating were the well fed and organized leaders of the colony, nested in the inaccessible cliff sides directly overlooking the whale skeleton. The Fox roamed on the edge of the cliff for days and nights looking down a those well polished nests.
It knew there was a way to get to them. It also understood clearly that it was crazy. And thought the only way return to previous fame was by tasting the blue blood of a aristocratic bird. The killdeers were aware of the crazy fox and kept an eye on it. But never took it seriously.
So one night when most adult birds were feasting on washed on the beach fish, the Fox concluded it is time to act. It was pitch black but the fox could hear the baby killdeers telling each other horror stories. So it leaped to the lower terrace. Successfully! It found no nest there so it looked over the edge where hundred of tiny shiny eyes looked back up at it.
The Fox surveyed the edge and fond a steep but walkable path down. It descended madly but cautious. The baby birds raised the alarm in horror. The adults didn’t bother, thinking their homes inaccessible.
The Fox could smell them. It reached the first nest and dipped its nose into it. It snapped the necks of the infant birds and drank their blood. It proceeded in the same fashion until its eyes were red with ego. It has done the impossible. Its scattered neurons respected that fact and lined up in a structured order for the master of the house was back.
The Fox went back up feeling immortal. It ran and ran over the rocky fields until balance settled in. The killdeers that lost their newborns were stif and calculative. There is next year they concluded. Knowing that now even they are not safe.
The Fox was ecstatic, it stopped at an edge of a high cliff overlooking the ocean and experience the best few minutes of its life.
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