Thursday, June 20, 2024

Raccoon rears up like a little bear

I recently received a timely request from a magazine, BWD, that I regularly work with. It's the former Bird Watcher's Digest, now truncated to the acronym. If you're into birds, on any level, I highly recommend a subscription. GO HERE for more information.

Anyway, the list of photo requests for the upcoming issue included one very specific target: an American Crow with an unshelled peanut in its bill. I can do that, thought I, as I've been working near daily trying to form a bond with a couple of the local crows. They nested this year within sight of the window where I now sit, the aerie well hidden in the crown of a towering Norway Spruce. I make regular gifts of peanuts to them, and the birds - mostly one or occasionally both adults, and a juvenile - have learned to recognize me as the peanut vendor. They now will come quite close as they exhort me to greater speed as I distribute their peanuts.

So, I waited until the light was optimal, set up my blind in a good spot in the backyard, scattered some peanuts and soon had my shot. I used the blind because at first, I was thinking that as used to me as they've become, I can just sit in a yard chair with my camera rig on a tripod in front of me. I should have known better. Crows are smarter than many people I've met, probably including myself, and the appearance of me in an odd location with what looked like a giant cannon (Canon, actually) aimed in their direction did not sit well with the birds. They cawed and rattled and sought new vantage points but would not drop down for the peanuts. Once I hid myself and the rig in the blind, I soon had success.

Crow with unshelled peanut. As always, click the image to enlarge.

It was getting late in the day as I worked the peanut-eating corvids, and thus I wasn't too surprised when a sow Raccoon ambled along, her keen nose apparently having detected the nuts.

I know that "coons" generate a lot of dislike, but even though I've had my fair share of issues with the wily beasts, I greatly admire them. And when she presented herself such as above, and I'm looking down the barrel of a big telephoto lens, there's no way I'm not taking advantage.

But crows, not coons, were my primary targets and the masked bandido's presence kept the birds at bay. So, a few times I had to pop from the blind and spook her off.

After the third time of me springing from the blind and making odd noises to startle her back under cover, she was leery, but the allure of peanuts still brought her back. This time, to better get a sense of her surroundings and the possible location of the annoying person (me), she reared up like a little bear, giving me a wonderful series of interesting shots. So, success on two counts with two of the smartest critters around.

1 comment:

Woody Meristem said...

Yup, both raccoons and crows are smarter than many mere humans -- and ravens are even smarter.