Wildlife Encounters Part Five: City Cousins

img189We finally moved into town on a wooded lot overlooking a lake. Imagine our surprise and delight when one night in the light from our windows, we saw a pair of raccoons, of possums, of armadillos, and even two very small red foxes all eating peaceably together under the bird feeders. It was like a scene from a Disney movie. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I don’t think I would have believed it. The next Spring, three momma raccoons each brought three babies at the same time every day to picnic under the feeders and drink from the birdbath. The babies were just cuddly balls of fur with masks and couldn’t climb into the birdbath at first. For about six weeks they came each day to tumble and climb, and eat in safety. The moms brought them out in the daytime because they were small and vulnerable, and large male raccoons are often dangerously aggressive toward babies. But the male raccoons come out only at night. I guess as nocturnal animals this is the raccoon moms’ equivalent to new human moms being awake at night taking care of their newborns. Sometimes adult raccoons would climb out a limb and grab hold of the wire attached to a feeder and walk the feeder back to where a branch came out of the trunk. There, comfortably ensconced in the notch, they would happily stuff themselves. One time they even managed to get the wire loose from the limb and drag the whole feeder off into the woods. Meanwhile beavers helped themselves to trees at the edge of the lake to build condominiums in the bank. The lake also attracted migratory ducks and geese, a blue heron, and finally even an eagle began to call it home. A pair of red tailed hawks got our attention by building a large nest that could be seen from our screened porch. The year before we planned to sell the house and downsize to an apartment, we began to replace the large sections of screening on the porch. But before we could finish this, a hawk swooped down to grab a bird at the feeder. He missed the bird, but went at high speed right through part of the old screen into the porch. At first we thought he was dead because he was lying completely still on his back with this feet and talons in the air. But when my husband opened the door to the porch to check on him, the hawk came to life, so my husband beat a hasty retreat. Even though the hawk began to move around the porch, it became clear that he wouldn’t be able to get out the tear he had made. This porch was my playpen for small grandchildren, so the only door opened into the kitchen area. There was no way for the hawk to get out. The porch was high off the ground that sloped down steeply from the house. So my husband climbed a ladder and as the hawk watched him closely, used a rake to tear more screen loose. Once he tore a fairly large hole, he decided to let the hawk figure the rest out for himself. Which fortunately, it did.
Next: Wildlife Encounters Part 6 Apartment Wildlife

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Posted on September 15, 2016, in blessings, fear, Nature and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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