Monday, June 28, 2010

A raccoon, a squirrel & two bluebirds . . .

. . . sounds like the start of a joke doesn’t it? It isn’t but I will endeavor to give you the Cliff Notes version of this early morning story.

Our second floor bathroom is tiny. I doubt you could swing a cat in there, unless you opened the shower curtain, maybe. Also, it'd probably have to be a small cat. (PLEASE NOTE: I don't abuse animals, this is just a figure of speech.) I need to add one other detail. A short distance off our deck is a maple tree with three tube feeders filled with sunflower seed.

It’s still dusky as I look out the bathroom window but I can just make out the fat rear end of a well-fed raccoon. This is not his first visit to our feeders or the grease pan on our gas grill! He's sitting on the flowerbed rail eating away at the seed from one of the tube feeders he's obviously, somehow knocked off the tree . . . yet AGAIN! I quietly sneak downstairs, and roughly open the back door. He looks up with surprise and fear written all over his masked bandit face and shoots off across the back yard where he dives under our shed. Within a few seconds he's out the far side of the shed running, or should I say loping, across the edge of the lawn where it meets the high grass that arcs around toward my neighbor's house where he quickly disappears. Good riddance! I walk back into the house to finish what I’m doing.

Later on, I’m in the bathroom again and I look out the window and there's a squirrel sitting in the exact same spot as the raccoon!!! While I love raccoons and squirrels and most wildlife for that matter, they are not welcome at the tube feeders, EVER! If you're small and can fly, then you can sup at the feeders. They are for the birds ONLY! (Yes, I know it’s a bad pun.) So, I do an “ahem” to see if anything happens. He immediately goes into statue mode while trying to figure out where the sound is coming. (It’s so easy to mess with a squirrel’s head!) I decide to take it a step further and cough. With that he takes one short leap and bolts up the maple in a frantic circular fashion to the top. Within seconds, and out of nowhere, come our resident male and female kamikaze bluebirds, who circle the tree from the top harassing and hustling him down the tree. As soon as he gets to the bottom, he hits the ground running and, with bluebirds closing in rapidly like a cruise missile, in a furry blur shoots over to a large pussy willow to take refuge and no doubt catch his little breath. Like the raccoon, he hot foots it over to the neighbor's yard (which must be a safety zone) to have his blood pressure checked and possibly get an EKG as well.

Maddeningly, I know one or possibly both will return some time during the day to hasten the emptying of at least one of the other feeders.

This however is totally my fault. Normally, I try to remember to bring the feeders in every night because I know the raccoon will be around to knock one of them off the tree to eat his fill and waddle off leaving me to refill the feeder. Knowing it was going to be even hotter today, I refilled the feeders last night to put out this morning. However, instead of hanging them in the garage over night, for some addled reason I hung them back on the tree!!!! I have NO idea where my brain was last night but it wasn't on putting the feeders in the garage that's for sure. So, I have no one to blame but myself.

I bet Jane Goodall never had this much wildlife trouble.



Relyn said...

I know raccoons are terrible nuisances. But, oh, how cute they are! When we lived in Oregon we lived in apartments on the Willamette River. We had raccoons for "pets". We fed them cat food on our deck and I just loved them. Crazy, I know.

Lynn said...

I so hear you on this. We have a deer that steals in at night to empty the feeders. We couldn't figure out why in the evening the feeders would be full and then empty in the morning. One evening my husband looked out there, and sure enough, a deer was happily going to town. I try to remember to bring them in, but most of the time I forget.

We have squirrels, too. Big ones. But they get their fill from what is on the ground. I don't know why they haven't been jumping from the trees to the feeders or zipping up the post. I guess there's enough on the ground from the birds, so why take the energy.

The thought of the little squirrel getting an EKG made me giggle. Too cute. You really brought this whole story to life. Loved it!

SE'LAH... said...

perhaps if you put out a feeding station for the furry wildlife, they'd leave your bird food alone? who am i kidding? ;)

Birdie said...

Chris, my son woke me up this morning saying "mommy a raccoon did bite me" ... I just remember this as I read your story :-) that's my kind of a story :-) I wish I was there to see all of this live!! thank you for sharing you make me smile :-)