March break is here, not that means anything to a guy like me. But it's mid-March already, the month is flying by (literally) and little by little the migrants are coming.
Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles have returned. I'm hearing Killdeer at night in my travels or from the backyard.
This week has been rather wet and dreary but I'm still going for short walks in our neck of the woods. Best sight of the week so far is a male Wood Duck in a pond near our house.
Craziest most "unpeaceful" was watching 2 drake Mallards fight for a female. These guys would not stop! The whole ordeal was interesting to watch but started to kill my zen outing, so I moved on.
Saddest sight of the week, and hopefully the only sight as such, was stumbling upon this unwell Raccoon sitting out in the middle of the open space of the park, rain drops kept falling on his head.
At first I didn't think too much of the sighting, meaning all was well with him, and this was just one of those odd moments.
But as I moved in closer, and zoomed the camera, it was obvious he wasn't feeling the greatest.
People walked right past him, not even giving him a second glance. And I mean they "walked right past him" as in mere feet! I find this behaviour strange in some people. Cold hearted? Walking with blinders on and too focused on the day ahead? No stop to look on in admiration. No stop to look and see if the big animal is okay. No walking around the beast, keeping some distance. So ya, just weird to me. I guess zombies do walk the Earth.
The photo op was done now. I needed to investigate this situation. I walked slowly towards him and he just sat there looking at me. He wasn't doing anything, just looking. I got within 5 ft of him, give or take, and not a growl, snarl or sign of any fear came from him. His left eye was partially open. His rear right foot looked as if something bit it. It looked a tad bloody but hard to tell with the fur, the wetness of the rain, but it was discolored.
I made the decision at this moment to race home, which is 2 blocks away, and get something to hopefully contain him. I was leaving a message with Toronto Wildlife as I hurried back to the truck.
I get home, grab some items, and get back to the spot ASAP. No Raccoon! TWC were returning my call. I'm talking to them while I'm walking around and looking. I was gone no more than 10 minutes and in that time he vanished. I guess you can't help something that don't want the help.
Distemper could have been his ailment. Hard to say in my view of him because he was less zombie like than the people who passed him by. As I've mentioned in my blogs in the past, if there is such thing as an animal totem, the Raccoon would definitely be on mine somewhere near the top. I have a great ability to find these animals in my travels and seldom is there any negative vibe between us. Word must have gotten out after I saved that one from the dumpster so long ago?
I've been keeping an eye out for him since. What more can I do?
On a happier note, the ones that live down at the back of our property have risen from their winter slumber. First we saw 2, then 3 and on the weekend a 4th showed itself in the group. Mom and her kids from last year? I have read that they may overwinter with her that first year. They are all quite healthy looking. So many in our city have died horribly from canine distemper in the last while.
Many got a good chuckle out of this shot from the other Friday afternoon.
It's been quite a tale with this bunch. For much of last summer we were only seeing 2 of the kids. It seemed mom had abandoned them early on because she was seldom seen with them. Some of the visiting Raccoons I can identify which stuns most people. How do I know? Much like the Pigeons, some just stand out one way or another, either with their personality or some difference physically. Call me crazy if you don't understand, much like I call you crazy for knowing all your hockey stats and birthdays of your favorite players. Just sayin'
We called the 2 kids the orphans. That is how it looked to us. The rebels or the mischeifs is probably more appropriate. As the summer rolled along, we would see mom on her own, and on the rare occasion with another 2 kids. I now await a 5th to emerge but I'm doubting it. One of the Raccoon bunch is very small compared to the rest. Having 3 of the 4 survive is remarkable (if you like these animals).
I know this mom by her personality and there is something about her eyes, when I look at her, I just know it's her. She is so laid back and easy going as long as we tread lightly and respect her space.
As the weather warms up, it will be nice to watch them once again. I look forward to a new bunch of kids running around here getting into shit through the evening hours.
And especially after work on Whisky Wednesday!
Last night this guy and I were listening to some Coyotes yelping somewhere off in the distance.
Another rainy day ahead, maybe another walk in it just because I can.