Today on Mothers' Day we honor mothers. Our own mothers, the mothers of our children, and so on. So it seems appropriate to honor a mother who gave birth to five babies only a few weeks ago. That would be our neighborhood red fox.
Our area, though close to Washington DC, is rather foresty; many yards/gardens remain in semi-natural state; there are quite a few ridges and creeks (the latter mostly run into the Potomac River). Hence we often see red foxes roaming the neighborhood, but it wasn't until about six weeks ago that we started seeing them daily in our own back yard - several at a time. We eventually discovered that a female red fox had moved in under our ground-level deck and was raising five kits.
Foxes are flexible and adaptive. This one turned up suddenly, and the kits seemed already pretty big, so we suspect she might have started in a den at the long-vacant house/garden across the street and was scared away by the sudden uptick in activity there when a new (human) family started moving in.
Be that as it may, we've decided to try not to disturb her as nature takes its course. So we're putting up with several biggish holes they've dug, and the muddy tracks everywhere from the six inches of rain the area has had lately, and more recently - as the youngsters have been weaned - bits of our neighbors' garbage and/or the curiously mangled remains of small critters here and there. We understand that in the normal course of events, before very long, mother and nearly-grown kits will abandon the den entirely and take up their more normal lives sheltering wherever their roaming takes them at night.
Meanwhile, it's entertaining to watch them. Mom has had a lot of trouble herding her very active brood of five. Seldom do they gather for a family portrait. Here's the only one we have of all six of them: