Its funny how every late Spring/early Summer I am out and about the area in search of Raccoon families to see and photograph. What I capture with the camera is unique and not just with the animals but also with their homes being tree cavities (no two trees are alike). Family and friends both enjoy the images I share with them.
The funny part is that I seem to forget how our backyard has them prowling around. I guess without the tree cavity homes and finding them in the daylight pushes them out of my head. You know, out of sight, out of mind.
We normally see one family each summer. Last year we were fortunate to have a mother and 3 young'uns hit our yard a few times a week and within half an hour or so of dusk. This was great as we had a small window of daylight to enjoy watching them and their antics.
Here is mom and 2 of the kids. I shot this through the kitchen window screen as to not disturb them.
This one is my favorite photos from last summer; almost like he's wondering who these stone creatures are or something. I think it captures the curiosity of a child, in this case, a Raccoon only months old.
We enjoyed seeing this family until mid-Autumn and after that, their visits were later and we were missing them, or they weren't coming around as often or for very long as the gardens disappeared when I cleaned up after the frosts started.
This year we are treated to another family, actually two families, plus some stragglers. I think mom from last year is back and she's got 3 kids again. One night she was out there with them when another mom and 2 kids showed up, making for 7 Raccoons total. I know of a couple other monster sized ones that come in every now and then, who sometimes push the families out when there be spilled bird seed about (as an example). And I do mean MONSTER SIZED with these 2, they are like mid-sized dogs but only bulkier. So in all I know we have at least 9 in the neighbourhood. It doesn't really surprise me but I do wonder where they come from, like where they sleep during the day? I used to have an old shed that would house one or two from time to time thanks to a hole in the roof. I almost miss that shed some days because you never knew what or rather who was going to be found sleeping inside.
Unfortunately these animals don't show themselves until after dark. So they are a visual treat out back but not much good for photographing. You can see here in the pics below of my testimony to that.
I shine a flash light on them when I am out back with them.
Here is one of the kids who seems to have a bit of a foot fetish. He comes around us and sniffs our feet. Last Friday evening I fell asleep out back and he woke me up with his cold nose on my toes. He's gotten that close a few times. I am wary of them becoming too accustomed to humans so I make the effort to spook them a little and get their guard up around humans.
I recently shared this on Facebook and Twitter stating this is the sign to find our home/sanctuary.
We have a good chuckle seeing them sit like people out there as they grab peanut bits and sunflower seed spilled over where I fill the bird feeders everyday.
I did have a couple sightings of them earlier in the summer when the days were longer. The next few were from July.
Mom is in the middle and she's grooming the kids out back about about 6am on a Sunday morning.
Mom gets up, one kid follows, while the other just falls over and watches them walk away. He wasn't ready for the grooming session to end. He did lay there for another minute or two (I think he was hoping she'd come back) before he followed them.
I didn't quite get what I hoped for here but it was worth a shot.
They've been loving the couple basin bird baths out back. Water can be harder to find for an animal than food especially during the dog days of summer. And seeing this explains why most mornings these basin baths look like mud pits.
I know far too many people who aren't impressed with such creatures around their homes. We simply "Raccoon proof" our garbage, we inspect the exterior of the house regularly and all is well. We can all live together in this city in harmony. We have our homes and people need to realize that the outdoors is theirs. All they are trying to do is survive like any other living being. Humans build and build and build some more, destroying their natural habitat; what choice do they or any other animal have but to adapt?
I say this to others often "who needs television and those nature channels? We have a wild world outside our doors!"
Here are a couple very short videos I took last weekend. I used our point/shoot camera and a crappy flashlight but its cool to see what goes on after dark in our backyard. Video one. And here is another video which has "toe sniffer" as I call him coming up to my foot once again.
I'll share a few photos of what I was talking about at the beginning of this blog, what I try to capture and share. This is the way we all like to see them, a mom with her babies, in a tree out in the woods.
Oh, and just so you know, I did find a few other families near the house. I was disappointed that my "hot spots" for them over the last 3 years were empty of families. Who knows where they will be next Spring?
A pretty mother.
One of her beautiful kids.
And lastly, another mom and one of her kids.
We are very lucky to have so much wildlife around us for living in the city. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.