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Sun Jul 1, 2018, 07:47 AM

Midnight snacking [View all]

I generally take in the big bird feeder, the one with sunflower seeds, at night because raccoons will empty it every time I don't. I stay up until 10 or 11, and if I don't forget, I turn on the outside light (that's because one time when I didn't I walked into a skunk raiding the feeder. I backed away slowly, murmuring "bon appetit, monsieur", check to see who's out there--I don't like interrupting male deer who are looking for a fight, either, even if they're on the other side of the yard--and usually just the light coming on causes the big fat raccoon who lives in my backyard to waddle off into the darkness.

Last night I turned on the light and saw raccoon-shape on the feeder. I went ahead out the door, figuring Fatso would be gone by the time I got outside. Wrong. And wrong again.

It wasn't Fatso. It was The Fruit of Fatso's Womb--two baby raccoons about the size of small house cats, one clinging to the feeder and shoveling in the seed, the other perched on top of the post, hanging over and waiting for his/her turn.

I expected Junior and Missy to take off when this unknown stack of smelly human advanced on them. Nope. As I got closer I started clapping my hands and "shoo"'ing them, to no avail. They watched me closely but sans peur as I approached nearer and nearer. I tried waving my arms and puffing myself up (I read somewhere that's how you scare away an aggressive swan), but they sat and enjoyed the show.

I was a little afraid that they would bite me if I tried to push them away or made any kind of physical contact with them. I confess that rabies crossed my mind, but only for an instant--I once saw a rabid skunk, and those are symptoms you don't forget. As soon as I dismissed rabies, the question of where Mom was crept in. While I was focused up high on the younger generation, was the old lady going to attack my ankles?

Never once did it occur to me that this was an almost-empty-at-this-point bird feeder so what was I doing. I had a galvanized trash can just inside the back door full of sunflower seed. No titmouse was going to go hungry if I didn't intervene.

Then I thought to myself "if I get bit by a raccoon, that'll be something to tell the (nonexistent) grandchildren about" and reached out for the feeder--I was so close to them I could count their whiskers. They were making little gutteral noises that might have been baby raccoon growls. We had stood nose to nose for several minutes, and they were damned if they were going to move, so it was up to me, the adult, to get the show on the road.

As I say, I reached out for the feeder. Junior/Missy clung. I shook it, and baby jumped off. I unhooked the feeder under the baleful eye of the sibling, fully ashamed of myself by this time--Big Brave Woman, scaring off hungry baby raccoons--and told the little guy "Aw, fuck it." I hooked the practically empty feeder back onto the post and went inside.

The light was still on, and I watched through the window to see if Mom or the other baby would return. Braveheart stayed there, clinging to the post until I decided the light was hampering his moves. I turned it off and went to bed.

This morning, every goddam sunflower seed was gone.

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Reply Midnight snacking [View all]
cyclonefence Jul 2018 OP
MuseRider Jul 2018 #1
cyclonefence Jul 2018 #3
MuseRider Jul 2018 #4
saidsimplesimon Jul 2018 #2
cyclonefence Jul 2018 #5
Bayard Jul 2018 #6