Are You Smarter than a Raccoon?

Here at the Farm we enjoy a variety of wildlife. Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Goldfinches and Juncos visit the backyard feeders daily during the winter months. Chipmunks, squirrels and the occasional Opossum also partake from the bounty. The most wily of the free loaders are the Raccoons.

Raccoons have an apparent taste for the Woodpecker suet. Over the past six months, Mr. Raccoon has helped himself to not only the suet in the feeder but the feeder itself. He drags the feeders into the woods to empty out the suet at his leisure. He must also be using the wire cage feeders to decorate his den because it is impossible to find the missing feeders. We  have hunted and searched through the woods but unable to retrieve the feeders. Three heavy duty wire feeders, gone.

Every effort is made to thwart the Raccoon. Suet feeders are hung from a Locust tree with two inch thorns adorning every branch. The wire feeders are tied shut with twist ties and more recently a multiple knotted rope. Feeders are hung from flimsy branches that barely support the weight of a squirrel. Larger pieces of suet are even brought in at night to foil the thieving rascals.

After the last feeder disappeared, a flock  of Juncos persisted in scratching around on the ground a few feet from the feeding area where the basement drain drips down to the creek. Close investigation revealed that the Juncos were picking out the remains of the suet from the stolen feeder. Not only was the most recent theft discovered, but the cache of missing  feeders lay nearby in a pile of leaves.

You’ve heard the old saying “Birds of a feather, flock together.” In this case it was the Juncos helping out their Woodpecker friends.