A fox and a snowy owl met on a winter night

They came. They danced. They may have tried to eat each other.


What I love about this short video, captured from a security camera at the Cobourg Marina on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, east of Toronto, is that it offers so many layers. Or rather, a chance for me - and you - to add so many layers.

At base is the predator-prey relationship. Or rather, predator-predator dance seen here. Why does the owl buzz the fox? What's going through the fox's head as it circles that owl?

The layers have nothing, really, to do with the two animals and everything to do with us watching them. The first, for me, is that this interaction happens on a street smack in the middle of a community. It's Harry Potteresque, as some have noted: You and I are asleep, blind to the magic going on just outside our doors.

Another layer: What happens if you stumble upon the tracks during an early morning walk? Would you walk right over them, not pausing? Would you ever imagine the little blob in the half circle of tracks was from an owl? I need, I'm realizing, to pay more attention to clues left in my world.

And yet another layer is an age-old tale I often sang to my kids at night: "The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night." The famed illustrator Peter Spier inked the version I remember. If you haven't read it to a child, you should.

You can see video on the town's original Facebook post, which has been seen some 200,000 times so far.

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Credit: WWF Malaysia/William Joseph
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