Raccoons in our Midst

Putting up Bird Houses to some is a very benign act. It gives some a warm fuzzy feeling but beyond the act of putting up the house in the first place, there is not much thought regarding the matter. This is not me. When I (and many others) put up a Bird House, there is a sense of responsibility that takes over. Some may say that what ever happens to the birds once the house is put up is, “part of nature.” I respectfully disagree with that.

The true course of nature is altered the moment we put up a bird house. For example, the fact that we brought starlings and sparrows to North America was a huge act against nature. Nature, or living with nature, would not manifest itself by people cutting down tree snags for aesthetic purposes. So when one speaks of nature and its course being altered my thoughts are, I am an advocate for nature and the creatures that are put at a disadvantage due to our actions. When I put up a bird house it is my property and I will protect it as such. Now about those raccoons!

Raccoons are an amazing animal. Though wild, I am sure that had Native Americans wanted to domesticate it, they could have. Only Raccoons would serve no purpose. Wolves were domesticated to herd livestock. Their protective nature was a great advantage. Even cats that serve no functional purpose are useful for their companionship and affectionate nature. But Raccoons? I mean, they are cute with that little mask but other than stealing food, what do they do?  They are survivors and super adaptors. They prosper anywhere and are around in abundance. Think you don’t have raccoons around? You would be surprised.

Alas, raccoons are in my yard. Apparently my Eastern screech Owl has been the first victim of this masked maruader. On the grass, out by the Screech Owls nest box, I found an egg. Not a chicken egg either! My Screech Owl lifted it’s head up from its nest box to see what I was doing as I looked at the broken jewel of an egg. The little Owl dipped its head back down, away from view. To me, the act of eating eggs is the most disgusting thing I can think of. DO I eat eggs? Sure. But remember that eggs in the store are not fertile. This little egg was alive at one time with a small miracle growing inside it. Then along comes this thief and commits infanticide! Or with a bird is is nestlingacide? hmmmm. Whatever the name, it disgusts me. Now my thoughts travel to my Purple Martins and how safe are my birds with those vermin coons around?

My CUENT gourd rack has a 4″ section of PVC around it and my Sunset Inn house has a plastic “stovepipe” type of guard. Strange but now that I now the Raccoons are so close, I do not trust them. I am almost in a panic state. Thoughts of midnight raids and unspeakable Purple Martin tragedy sneak into my thoughts. Other than the predator guards; what can I do? Well, this is what I have “heard”.

1. Let my dog out often. (unfortunately, he is not much of a protector)

2.Keep ammonia soaked rags or moth balls around the perimeter of wherever I don’t want raccoons.

3.Think about installing motion activated lights.

4.Don’t leave the garbage cans/pet food outside.

5.Trap and call the Animal Control folks.

I’ll let you know what happens.

Blog Copyrighted: S.Halpin/ PurpleMartins-R-Us.com

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