Saturday, January 20, 2007

Winter Visitors

Wild critters are feeling the arrival of cooler weather, no doubt. And I've been watching the arrival of wild critters. This started a few nights ago when I filled up the bird feeder before retiring for the night...just to have one less thing to do in the morning. A few minutes later I heard the squeek-squeek of the feeder being blown by the wind, or so I thought. Then I heard the rattle of wood scraps in the wheelbarrow. By the time I got outside, all I could see was a damp paw print. And sunflower seeds scattered about.

Yesterday morning marked the return of Centurus Carolinus. It used to be that the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers were regulars at the feeder. But they were absent last winter, so I was very glad to see another one.

Last night, after dark, the motion light kept coming on. Eventually, I saw a bushy tail disappear around the corner. And the next time the light came on, a raccoon poked his bandit face around the corner of the house. Without intending to, I made enough commotion to set the coon on his way, and he waddled back to the edge of the woods.

I thought about trapping the raccoon and relocating him. Maybe I don't need to. I do have a couple of concerns, though. Rabies is extremely common in raccoons, and the door handles of my house are the lever type. I can imagine what might happen one night if I fail to lock my doors. Will I wake up to find a slightly rabid, fairly hungry and very confused raccoon in my kitchen? That could be exciting.

So with that thought in mind while I was grinding coffee this morning, I considered too the return of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. At that very moment I looked out at the feeder and saw....not a chickadee or nuthatch, but one Red-Bellied Centurus Carolinus snacking away.
It's already a good day.

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