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The foxes of McCall: Man shares stunning photos of local wildlife

Dan O'Malley didn't have to wait for a stay-at-home order to appreciate his own backyard.

MCCALL, Idaho — One of the great things about living in Idaho is the relative closeness to the great outdoors.

We don't have to go very far to see all that Mother Nature has to offer in the Gem State, whether that be mountain peaks, the purple and pink majesty of sunrises and sunsets, or creatures creeping in their natural terrain.

And some of us are lucky enough to live where those things come to us, especially convenient during these days of self-isolation.

But for McCall resident Dan O'Malley, he didn't have to wait for a stay-at-home order to appreciate the beauty of his own backyard.

He's been doing it for years.

"I try to take photos every day," O'Malley said. "I've taken well over a hundred photos at a time, you know, just to get maybe two or three good shots."

Fortunately, a large forested area sits just south of his home, giving him a front-row seat to plenty of wildlife.

"I have deers, raccoons, squirrels," he said. "I don't even have to really leave home at all to get them. I've been photographing the foxes since 2011.

Soon after buying his home in 2010, O'Malley noticed several foxes running through his front yard.

"Apparently they thought I was a keeper, so they've been coming back ever since," he said. "One of the first foxes that came regularly, I call him 'handsome.' He's been coming for eight years now. And for an urban fox that's a long time. Their lifespan is usually five or six years at the most."

It's obvious from listening to O'Malley talk about these wild visitors that he has developed a close personal connection to them. He's even named his favorites - Zorro, Dark Eyes, Sparky - just to name a few.

"They're extremely social animals, not only between each other but with other animals," he said. "They get along great with my cats. If there's ever a problem it's primarily with one of my cats chasing after them."

Credit: Dan O'Malley
Credit: Dan O'Malley

O'Malley posts all of his photos to his Facebook page, which is public so anyone can see them.

"It's interesting to read the comments that I get that they look forward to seeing my photos," he said. "It gives me something to look forward to, posting the photos and knowing that people really love seeing them.

"It's really rewarding for me," he added. I consider them part of my family really. It's my hobby. I love to do it."

O'Malley says he makes sure to never get too close or touch any of the wildlife he photographs.

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