Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Raccoon Family Cruise

The baby raccoons first appeared with their mother one morning about a month ago.  They were just over cup-full sized and very shy. They seldom ventured into the yard but would hang out around or in a big tree at the corner, peaking out at the activity with brightly curious eyes. Mom would then come on in the yard, as has been her habit for a while, looking for some of the bird seed that I spread for our winged visitors every day.

Since the cooners’ visit tended to come around 9:00 or so every morning, I’d gotten in the habit of throwing out a few table scraps or some bits of bread for Mom. She’d come right up to the back door to eat, would, in fact, come running when she heard the door open. Lana had even enticed her in to taking bread from her hand.

Over time, the young ones started coming into the yard every morning with Mom but would run for a tree if I opened the back door. They mostly got over that but would run if I stepped out on the back porch with bird seed. Soon, one, and then two of the small ones, would come up to the back door with Mom looking for the bread I threw out. As of today, July 14, 2016, they all came up. One first, then a second, then the third and fourth. And when I stepped out to feed, only two of the little ones ran. The other two stayed right there with Mom while I moved around in the yard and put out seed. 

After I came back inside from feeding, I saw the cutest thing. The two bravest little ones, those who had stayed with Mom in the yard, ran for the tree in the corner where their two siblings had fled. They climbed up and, it seemed to me, ushered their shyer brothers/sisters down and back into the yard to take part in the largess. Right now they are all five (4 kits, 1 Mom) gathered in one spot, hovering up seed as fast as their paws can move.

I know lots of folks don’t like raccoons and they can indeed pose some dangers, but being able to look out at them, and interact with them, makes me feel a little bit a part of nature. And maybe, it seems, I’m giving a little back to the natural world that has given me so much pleasure and always been there for me during the sadder times.


16 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think that's rather cool. As long as they aren't rabid, it's all right. Sounds like soon they will all stay right there when you come out.

oscar case said...

You would think that quail would get used to human contact, but they just run away at the slightest noise or movement. You've made great progress with the 'coons.

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, in the past we've had babies that got used to us enough to come right up to us when we went out.

Oscar, we've noticed very few birds ever get 'used' to us in the backyard. They all flee when we come out, although they quickly return when we go back inside. The exception is our wren, who will sometimes perch pretty near us.

Cloudia said...

Your post today speaks to us particularly. We feel lucky to be surrounded by nature and creatures. I saw some muddy raccoon tracks on my lower deck, so am very interested in learning more about them - AND in keeping Pixie inside after dusk, [and the water dish brought in from the back door.]

"makes me feel a little bit a part of nature. And maybe, it seems, I’m giving a little back to the natural world that has given me so much pleasure and always been there for me during the sadder times." You speak eloquently for us too! Possibly the best words of yours I have read. Thanks Charles

sage said...

It is amazing how quickly animals become "trained" to sounds like doors opening. Enjoy your visits with nature!

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, thanks. I appreciate the kind words.

Sage, operant conditioning!

oscar case said...

Hummingbirds are pretty friendly but a little skittish, too.

Riot Kitty said...

That is so neat! Having grown up in the suburbs, I'm still impressed with nature close by.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar we do see hummingbirds around but we don't have hummingbird feeders. They also attract bees and Lana is allergic. One stops by every once in a while to visit our red hanging glass on the deck.

Riot Kitty, it's such a relaxing experience. At least for me.

X. Dell said...

Raccoons around here are rather aggressive, I'm afraid. Once they've claimed your garbage can, it's theirs, as far as I can see.

But you seem to have made peace with at least a few. More power to you.

the walking man said...

I dunno Charles, I have a neighbor who throws bread out on his lawn, I think he thinks he is fattening up the squirrels just in case..his idea of prepping. I don't want to tell him and I won't, but the only creatures I ever see eating the bread are rats. *meh* Slum life.

Charles Gramlich said...

X. we used to have problems with the garbage can but we almost never throw any kind of food stuff in it anymore so they don't smell it. I also put a big old tire on top of the can when I put it out. They haven't bothered it in ages.

Mark, I've seen some fat rats that I might eat if I got hungry enough. Course, most of those were politicians.

Angie said...

That's pretty awesome. :) I've always loved that up-close-and-personal-with-Nature stuff when it happens. Well, usually. Having a bunch of wild ducks happily and noisily boinking in our pool about 30 years ago was funny to watch for a while, but cleaning duck crap off the aggregate around the pool was not at all fun.

I saw a thing on TV a few years back about what it took for a family to get rid of the 25 or so raccoons that'd pretty much taken over their house. That didn't look like fun either. So long as your stay outside, though, you're probably cool. :)

Angie

G. B. Miller said...

We have a squirrel that we developed long ago a love/hate relationship, mostly in regards to the four bird feeders that we have in the front yard. Over the past year or so, I've become a lot more tolerant of that squirrel. He doesn't eat directly from the feeders anymore and instead eats the leftovers from the ground, so I no longer bother him or chase him. We also have a couple of robins who act like sheriffs for the entire front yard, kicking any animals butt who steps out of line.

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, if we had an attic it might be a problem with the raccoons but there's no where for them to get in.

G. B., we've had a lot of problems with squirrels and our feeders. We've had to install baffles and trim back tree branches but at the moment we seem to have them mostly unable to get into the feeders.

thejspotjodi said...

Charles-they surely are cute. I enjoy seeing any aspect of nature up close.