Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Canned Raccoon, Cardinals and Signs of Spring!

Lately, an animal has been coming into the barn during the night and helping the barn cats clean up their food. Up until a couple of mornings ago, my husband had been finding the food and drink dishes moved, sometimes long distances. Then, 2 days ago he began finding the lid off the old milk can that we keep the cat food in, so after last night's feeding he pushed the lid on tightly. We suspected a raccoon, but didn't think it would have strength enough to pry the lid off. When it's on tightly I have to take a heavy stick and give it a good wack or two to pry it loose.

This morning the lid was still in place, so DH (dear hubby) pulled it off and reached in to grab the cup we keep in there to measure the food......but to his great surprise, his hand touched a furry body! His immediate thought was that one of the cats had climbed in and been accidently trapped in there the previous night....but when he peered in......a masked face peered back at him!

He quickly slammed the lid back on and carried the can outside, and then guess what he did? Yes, that good man hurried down to the house and told me to come with my camera :)

And here's the result :) Cute, isn't he?

I managed a couple of other shots as he took off in great haste, but unfortunately they didn't come out well because he moved too quickly.
He must've managed to pry the lid up and climb into the can, only to have the lid shut after him. I hope the little fella came in the early hours and didn't spend the entire night in there. Posted by Picasa

In December of 2006 we had a nasty episode with a very large raccoon coming into the barn and killing 3 of our cats, as well as wounding the legs of 2 others. We actually saw it, and tried to trap it, but it was too wily. Luckily we didn't see any evidence of its return, and the surviving kitties made it through the winter safely. You can read that post here if you'd like to.

We've found that large raccoons, as well as stray male tomcats, can be very vicious killers of cats and kittens, so both are most unwelcome in our barn!

We hope this smaller guy doesn't turn out to be vicious, because he's a very persistent fellow, and I suspect he'll be back......but he'll find a cement block on the milk can!

Meanwhile, on the front porch feeder tray and beyond, at the feeders and in the trees, we've been seeing the cardinals coming more often lately. They're such a beautiful, welcome sight, especially against a backdrop of snow.

This fellow appears to be having a friendly conversation with Mr. House Sparrow,

.......while the little lady waits in the nearby Maple tree. Posted by Picasa

She usually eats at the hanging feeder, or below it on the ground. You can recognize her as a female, rather than a juvenile, because she has a red beak (she's wearing lipstick :), while the youngster has a dark bill.

I've seen as many as 6 Cardinals at a time recently, which is unusual. I don't remember seeing more than 4 feeding together previously.

More often than not, the House Sparrows are hogging the seed on the tray. This little Tree Sparrow (on the right) thought he should have the whole tray to himself on this particular occasion......

He was in no mood to share! Greedy little fellow :)

Some birds will chase all the others away, even their own kind, but these two were sharing nicely. The Cardinals don't appear to be aggressive. They're actually rather shy, especially the ladies. Posted by Picasa

And here's a sure sign of spring...the Red-winged Black Bird!
Jodi at Bloomingwriter has also seen them at her Nova Scotia home during the past week. It's amusing how excited we are to see them :)
Do you see the little bit of yellow below the red? We're treated to a good look at both the red and yellow when they spread their wings. Posted by Picasa

I saw my first Redwing of the season, a female, on February 7th. See how different they are from the males? not black, but brown, and there are no red and yellow stripes on their wings. Posted by Picasa

Unfortunately the colors didn't show up well on the wings of these 2 males, but I suspect there'll be other opportunities. Posted by Picasa

Thanks everyone for your very welcome comments on the squirrel post. We can enjoy him because he's the only one, and he doesn't eat much :) I sure hope he hasn't found my tulip bulbs! We rarely see squirrels because the barn cats keep them away, or eat them if they can catch one. Actually, we haven't seen our little guy for several days. With the occasional warmer days the cats have begun wandering down from the barn and he may have decided it was time to get out of town! I prefer to think that than the darker scenerio.

We'll stop feeding the birds on the porch tray soon, and let them eat at the hanging feeders, which are safely out of reach of the cats. Happily, there are only a few naughty cats that think they should supplement their diet with a juicy bird or two, so we don't have many casualties, for which I'm thankful. I've been known to yell at them like a wild woman if they show up on the porch!

With all this wildlife, I'm thinking we could start a petting zoo ;)


Katarina i Kullavik said...[Reply]

I didn't know racoons could get that vicious - but then I've never seen one in real life. So thanks for your pictures - it looks sweet enough...
And I also enjoy your pictures of the birds...very pretty1

Pam/Digging said...[Reply]

Great raccoon picture. Very sweet of your husband to run and get you and the camera. I'm glad he didn't get bitten when he reached into the can. He'd have had to have rabies shots, which happened to my grandfather-in-law after he got bitten while feeding a raccoon.

Elzie said...[Reply]

Must be interesting to live at your place. Lots of different animals are visiting. Here we only see some birds now and then (if you don't count ugly jackdaws!!).
Hope you have a great Wednesday.
Love Elzie

Crafty Gardener said...[Reply]

What a wonderful hubby getting you and the camera. Great shot. I love the bird photos too. I'm still on the lookout for my first redwing.

Jeanette said...[Reply]

Great Pic of the Racoon in the can It might might think twice before it returns again.. Love the colour of the red bird, we dont get them here...

Cris said...[Reply]

Isn't it funny how our DH start helping us catch nice photos? My husband asked me to photograph a snake this weekend... not exactly my type of thing to do, but he was so excited that I had to take a few shots! And Kerri, these birds are lovely! I don't think I have ever seen a racoon...

Cherdecor said...[Reply]

You really did get a good picture of the raccoon! I imagine that he did skeedaddle out of there.

We have a lot of cardinals that come to our backyard too. And like you said, they are so pretty against the backdrop of snow. You got some good pictures of your cardinals.

We have three squirrels who frequent our patio feeder. I shoosh them away when I see them.

Susan said...[Reply]

Oh, how cute that coon is peeking out of the milk can! And what a good husband to think of you getting a picture! But we have coons here eating our cat food also, and they are not so cute after a while. They always leave the water bowl dirty where they wash their hands (if we forget and leave it outside). Great pictures, love the red birds. Spring is coming - finally!

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

The picture of the racoon in the can is just precious. However I know that racoons can be vicious. My sister's dog has had several run ins with a racoon that cost them dearly at the Vet.

I also really like the picture of the cardinal and house sparrow having a conversation.

Definitely signs of spring here.

squire said...[Reply]

Great photo of the Cardinal. If you see it on "someones blog", you have been forwarned that I stole it. hehe.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...[Reply]

LOL! Great shot! I'm surprised that raccoon was able to run away that fast, usually they're slow & dopey during the day. They are very cute, but best appreciated from a distance.

Robin's Nesting Place said...[Reply]

That is the sweetest face on the raccoon. I didn't know they would kill cats. How sad. Glad your husband didn't get bitten.

I really enjoyed your bird pictures.

kenju said...[Reply]

The photo of the raccoon is just precious!

Amy said...[Reply]

I just love the photos - especially that little raccoon. We don't have those here, which perhaps is a good thing. We do get black bears in our yard though :( I've always wished we had cardinals out here too - such a gorgeous red!

Kylie said...[Reply]

Bet that was a shock for Dad! What a face though! (That only a racoon mother could love?) We have tulips outside our door! When I looked closer I saw that they were in pots that were just planted in the window boxes- but flowers none the less!

Apple said...[Reply]

Raccoon in your title had me worried! I'm glad he went for the cat food and not the cats and I hope he moves on. I'm glad your DH thought to have you get the camera, the picture is priceless!

I've finally seen a few robins. The woods have been filled with bird songs this week but we're still getting snow :( My only furry animal encounters this week involved Pepe Le Pew!

Susie said...[Reply]

Hello dear Kerri,
I remember your raccoon story from 06 quite well. This new fellow seems like he's quite clever himself.
I bet that was quite a surprise for Ross to feel fur when he reached inside. Good thing he didn't get bitten!
Loved the pictures of the beautiful cardinals. We never see those. Red winged blackbirds are here year round and very common.
We're still enjoying the lovely sunny days, but perhaps a bit of rain will come at the end of the week.
love and ((hugs))

Terri said...[Reply]

We had an Opposum fall into the goat feed can one time and not be able to get out. He was almost hysterical trying to get away! LOL

Thanks for hope that spring IS coming!
God bless.

Annie in Austin said...[Reply]

Kerri, your husband is a peach to immediately think of finding a raccoon in the milk can as a photo op.
And from a journalistic standpoint, having contributors adds more news gathering potential to the blog, right?

We usually see just a pair of cardinals at one time, not groups like yours. It's the blue jays that hang out in quartets.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Mountain Mama said...[Reply]

Your bird pictures are so nice. I don't have a feeder up right now because the Stellar Jays empty it within an hour and th smaller birds don't get any seeds.
I am hoping to build a new feeder and put chicken wire around it so the Jay's can't do that anymore.
Your husband's experience with the canned coon sure made me shiver! Those things are usually quite viscious when they are cornered like that. Thank the Lord he didn't get hurt. Another thing that many people don't know is that coon's carry diseases besides rabies that can be fatal to our pets and also to humans.
I know they are cute to watch sometimes but they can sure cause trouble too.

Giddy said...[Reply]

What a hoot! That raccoon must have given DH quite a start. I have my sunflower seeds in a metal trash can and our resident raccoon can open it easily, so every night I have to bring both the can and the feeders indoors.

I dearly miss the cardinals. We only spot one every once in a great while here on the coast. One day, I was walking in the woods and heard that familiar "cheer,cheer,cheer". I called back to him and could hear him reply, but I never did get a look at him. Your photos of them are beautiful

WiseAcre said...[Reply]

How many years was taken off your hubby's life when he opened the can? I think I lost a couple when I did the same to a garbage can and found a possum hissing at me.

My favorite story is the night I heard a scratching at the back door. Thinking it was one of the cats I opened the door only to let in a skunk. It made a hasty retreat thank goodness.

Needled Mom said...[Reply]

Those raccoons can be quite persistent when it comes to getting the food. We had problems with one last summer getting into our can of cat food. Even with a bungee cord securing the top, it was able to turn the can on the side and try to release the lid. Amazing!

The cardinals are BEAUTIFUL. I can imagine that the bright red against the white snow is stunning. I love all of your photos.

Teresa said...[Reply]

Hubby is lucky he did not get bit! The bird photos are wonderful, especially the bright red cardinal. We do not get them in the Pacific NW of USA.

Alice said...[Reply]

Those Cardinals are the most spectacular colour, especially showing up against the snow.

All the of birds must be such a joy for you to watch and photograph and a foretaste of the coming Spring.

It would be very easy for you to start a petting zoo since you already having capturing the animals downs to a fine art - lock 'em in a milk can overnight!! What's the US equivalent of the RSPCA?

Sonia said...[Reply]

Thanks Kerri for your kind words! I always love when I see your name on comments! Holambra isn't only a business complex, there are many beautiful houses residential. I will soon make a post about fruits, flowers and houses in Holambra.

It's always a pleasure seeing your gorgeous photos. You live in a wonderful place! Have a nice weekend!

Moi said...[Reply]

its hard to imagine that little fella doing something as evil as the last raccoon did...he has such melting eyes!!! :)

i would have loved to eavesdrop on that tete-a-tete between cardinal and Mr Sparrow....:)

beautiful pics , as always, Kerri .and i love the new header...a spring heralder!

verobirdie said...[Reply]

I too did not know that racoon could be that vicious. They look so innocent.
The picture with the red cardinal is amazing. The other pictures are beautiful too, but I love red cardinals, since we don't have them here :-)

Isabelle said...[Reply]

What lovely posts yours are. Full of interest and pleasure in small things.

Blackswamp_Girl said...[Reply]

Oh WOW! The raccoon is so cute peering out of that can, but I'm glad that your DH didn't get bitten, either. (And that he thought to have you grab the camera!)

Your bird shots are wonderful, Kerri. I never really quite knew how to tell the juveniles and the females apart all the time, so I'm going to remember the "lipstick rule!" :)

joey said...[Reply]

Your 'Canned Raccoon' is an award-winning photo!

Kathleen said...[Reply]

I sure enjoyed seeing your cardinal photos. I grew up in Maryland and they were my favorite bird but unfortunately we don't have them in Colorado. (although I hear tales that they are slowly expanding their territory and moving west ~ crossing my fingers!)