One of the reasons I started putting out the feeders again is that our bear seen locally raiding them was in hibernation. I didn't take into account raccoons I also thought hibernated at this time of the year. Apparently not! I didn't actually catch him in the act of stealing the owl-shaped seed ball, but it seems strange that our ambidextrous seed eater turned up the next night after it disappeared. These are very short videos, 15 seconds each.
Saturday, January 15, 2022
99% SURE THIS IS THE CULPRIT
I found the following information at this website.
"Although they don’t hibernate, raccoons do hole up in dens during the bitterest days of winter and are able to sleep for long stretches of time – up to a month – without heading out into the elements. The extra layer of fat they add during the fall – about one-third of their total weight – helps provide insulation, along with a heavy coat of coarse fur. Raccoons, though typically solitary creatures, will sometimes den in groups during very cold weather."
The word "raccoon" comes from an Algonquin word "aroughcoune," meaning "one who scratches with his hands." A new bit of information for me.
"Dens range from tree cavities and underground burrows to abandoned buildings and, sometimes, unused chimneys. And raccoons are not above kicking some other animal out of its warm den to take over."
You can read more information at the link I provided under the second video. The following are still-photos taken with the same bird cam.
Whatever your opinion of them is, and I know they can be complete and utter pests, I have never had any issues and have always found them endearing.
That's not to say I want to get too close as they are after all wild animals, and I will always keep my common sense about me. I certainly do not want to encourage them.
For the last couple of nights our little visitor has not returned, and I hope it stays that way, for them and for the sake of our neighborhood pets. They also love to get into trash cans trying to find food, and with those nimble little fingers, can get the lid of one very fast, so I am told.
Also, Gregg thinks he may have spotted the missing owl seed ball not too far from our deck. It's in a very muddy area and we are going to wait for the ground to dry up before retrieving it. Hopefully all it will need is a bit of a wash. We are expecting another snowstorm on Sunday. The weather forecasters promise us only three inches this time.
The Cardinal was there to lend his support to Squirrel, and was also very thankful the raccoon had left some bird seed for his morning snack.