Walking along the Bergmann Strasse close to the graveyard late at night, is a peaceful experience. The chances of seeing a fox is quite high these days.
Inner city foxes have increased in population over the last couple of decades, in fact, probably a lot longer than that.
The first Berlin city foxes were spotted in the 1950s, now, it’s estimated that about 1700 foxes roam the streets of Berlin.
You can imagine, it’s not hard to go out for a walk in Berlin and see a fox if you want. Foxes are not necessarily nocturnal, as some people claim, they use the darkness to hunt at dawn, and move over wide distances day and night.
The Bergmannkiez Graveyard
Now, Berlin’s foxes are coming in from the cold, and setting up dens inside the city perimeter. The Bergmannkiez graveyard is a well known place to spot a fox, day or night. Victoria Park, or the Kreuzberg, is another location where you are likely to see a fox bobbing about in the bushes.
Hunter Foxes now Look for Fast Food
Some animal experts suggest that Berlin foxes who naturally are hunters, are now learning to become gatherers. There’s plenty of pickings in the streets, bins, and waste areas to find thrown away food that they can live on. There are plenty of rats and mice in Berlin, so fresh meat shouldn’t be a problem.
I was walking home late one night at the end of summer, as I crossed Sudstern, past the magnificent church that is well lit, and looms up from its grassy surroundings, I heard the sound of a Nightingale. That was something quite lovely, a treat for the ears.
I continued on into Bergmannstrasse, and immediately saw a young fox climb through the fence bars of the graveyard. She toddled along the street, stopped, sniffed the air and looked about the place. She saw me immediately, I noticed how she gazed at me for a long time. I think a human on the street, a moving animal with long legs, is a possible threat to any wild animal. She decided I was harmless, and sauntered along by the cars.
I enjoyed the walk, the company of a fox that didn’t run off and hide, but led the way along the Bergmann Strasse on a dark, but warm night. She turned right at the corner of Baerwald Strasse and disappeared into a large courtyard. I imagine she knew about some mice or rats that were worth chasing for a late dinner.
It’s not difficult to see a Berlin fox somewhere in the streets at night. Just keep your eyes peeled and you’ll probably see one, or two.
A few nights ago, I leaned out of my apartment window at 01.30 am, a chilly night, and in this COVID-19 time, hardly a soul on the street. I saw two people sitting on the shop step opposite my apartment. They were clearly getting stoned on something, a big fat doobie had been built, and they were passing the toke between themselves.
I looked left, up towards the corner of Arndt Strasse, and saw a fat little fox loping along, stopping now and again to inspect a car, a lamppost, or just sniff the cold air.
After watching the Bergmannstrasse fox a few nights before, this little fellow looked like a short, chubby, rough haired fox dog, that didn’t want for an evening meal, knew his way around and acted like he owned Nostitz Strasse.
He trotted, stopped, looked, and then moved into a position between two cars. There, he took his time viewing two humans in the process of getting stoned on a cold night. They cackled and coughed their lungs up, and their voices were jovial but loud enough to piss off a few neighbours – but not a fox. The fox found them quite fascinating. Maybe, he’d never seen two people sitting in the cold having fun. After a while, he decided they were just street furniture and moved on, looked left and right, then crossed the Bergmannstrasse, turned right at the hat shop and continued on into the night.
Berlin is full of wildlife. But I think that it’s the fox that fascinates people enough for him to be the centre of many dinner conversations. A fox was always thought of as a sly character who you couldn’t trust, a stealer of eggs and chickens. Foxes are experts in figuring out how to enter a building complex and get what they want, then leave, without being seen.
In the backyard of the building I live in, I’ve often found the remains of a pigeon. Feather strewn around, and small blood stains. I mentioned to a neighbour that it was likely a fox that had visited. I was reminded that we live in Berlin city, not the countryside, so it couldn’t have been a fox. Load of bosh. It was a fox.
Berlin has an Abundant variety of Inner City Wildlife
Foxes aren’t the only wildlife that have moved into the urban streets of Berlin. The White Tailed Eagle, long thought close to extinction, or extinct, made a glorious return to Germany, and can now be spotted occasionally around the skies of Berlin. The German eagle, the same as on the German flag, flies freely over Tempelhof Field, the former airport. The perfect place to catch a mouse or vole, if you have eagle eyes.
Berlin has enormous areas of green foliage. Forests, fields, and parks galore offer a perfect setting for foxes and other animals to move freely without bumping into humans and other domestic animals by accident. It gives them room to build a territory that allows them the routine of searching with a feeling of security.
The Grünewald, Forest, is full of wild boar, bird life, racoons, which all come into the city as they please, and in some parts of Berlin there are deer herds that roam the forests and feed in the fields.
The graveyard is the best place to see a grey or red squirrel. They are all over the place. Like the foxes, the red squirrel doesn’t fear humans anymore, their Berlin city experience has been a positive one so far, and hopefully people will realize that wildlife around the city is lovely to observe and not part of a feeding zoo. Don’t feed the animals, even when a red squirrel tells you differently. Apart from feeding encouraging them to lose their healthy fear of other animals, when you offer a squirrel something to eat, and they take it, it’ll follow you to kingdom come for more.
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