Oct 06 2009

Things that go bump in the night

Published by at 7:32 am under Mammals

Raccoon (photo by Chuck Tague)
Last night I was awake at 1:00am when I heard a metal clang in the backyard.  It sounded suspiciously like our squirrel-proof metal bird feeder.  I almost ignored it and went back to bed but the sound made me curious. 

The moon was full and bright.  It lit the back yard but not the place under the trees where the feeders are located.  I crept downstairs.

From the kitchen window it was still too dark to see the feeders so I turned on the backyard light. 

Aha!  The metal feeder was askew, tilted so that all the seed had fallen out. 

It took me a long time to notice that the thieves were still there.  Two raccoons were meticulously searching the ground, eating the fallen seed.  Their keen noses could smell the treasures the squirrels had buried and they were digging holes to retrieve them. 

This morning my bird bath is muddy (they wash their food), the feeder is empty and the backyard looks like it was bombed by small explosives.  My only consolation is that the damage is light.  If I lived in the country, it could have been a bear.  (Click on the picture to see a bear in Marcy's Cunkelman's backyard in Indiana County.)

(raccoon photo by Chuck Tague; bear photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

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