Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Raccoons raiding feeders


A young but already robust Raccoon, Procyon lotor, treats your narrator's bird feeder as its buffet. The masked bandidos are a nightly occurrence in the backyard.

I don't mind them, too much. Raccoons are clever, adaptable, and engaging mammals and they're darn good looking to boot. They do cause problems, perhaps especially with the raccoon-borne Raccoon Roundworm, which causes a disease that can be devastating to Allegheny Woodrats among other organisms. And a lot of people seem to hate coons just because of their very traits of intelligence and adaptability. If a family unit gets access to your attic, I suppose such a sentiment would be understandable. For me, the coons are strictly outdoors - the house seems tightly sealed and I've never had any issues with Raccoons or other mammals other than the rare White-footed Mouse getting in.

I made this photo back on August 17, when the mother was still escorting her two kits around. This spring, when they were very young and could not yet climb up the feeder, she would sweep seed off the feeder and down to the ground for them. It didn't take too long for them to manage to clamber up, though.

I've had fun on Facebook posting photos of "my" Raccoons, and joshing about my ongoing battles with the feeder-raiding coons. The truth is, with only slight effort, they are pretty easy to defeat. If I really don't want them plundering my feeders - which only happens at night - I just take them down and put them in the (apparently coon-proof) shed. It takes less than a minute to stow them and the same to put the feeders back out in the morning.

But sometimes I leave them out, just because I like to watch the masked bandidos.

Photo Note: With these two images, you are looking at extreme ISO: 32,000! For instance, the first shot was handheld, at 1/40 and f/2. The other photo used about the same parameters although it was at f/2.8 using a different lens. By the time the Raccoons come around, it is generally pitch black. In the second shot, the image was made in the dark. For the first, I had an outdoor light on which provides better illumination, but the coons don't like that and will usually leave the feeder if I leave it on for long. I'm shooting through a (very clean) window and am close to the animals, so images do not have to be cropped much - cropping would greatly exacerbate the graininess of such high ISO images. A better solution would be to use flash, and maybe I'll have to play with that a bit.

1 comment:

Cam Nhung Dinh said...

I love this photo which is used the same parameters although it was at f/2.8 using a different lens.

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