A tall tree on the west side of my yard is, as I discovered this evening, home to a whole family of raccoons! I was reading the Sky Watch Friday blogs when I heard not-so-light footsteps on my roof. I've known for some time that there are raccoons in our urban neighborhood, but had not yet spied anything except some tell-tale evidence in the grass.
I normally don't go prowling around outside after dark, but I picked up my best flashlight and slipped out the door into the back yard. A scan of the roof over my office showed nothing, so I stepped back a few paces and shone the light across the roof and then up into the ivy-draped tree. Eight little spots of light glittered back at me -- 4 raccoons! Any person in the vicinity could have overheard me having a not so sweet and definitely one-sided conversation with them. They just listened to my rant and blinked their eyes. In less than a minute, still another one came trip-tripping across a limb which overhangs my den to join the others. I estimate that the latter one, which I could see in profile as it scampered across, was at least a foot long from ears to base of tail. It was too dark and the ivy too thick to see his/her bushy tail.
This raccoon family doesn't realize it yet, but their cosy home is slated for demolition -- soon. The tree in which they are dwelling is leaning against a fence which separates my yard from a (as still yet) friendly neighbor. Well, it's more pushing against our mutual fence (from my side to hers) than it is leaning. And several branches of said tree are about to overhang her house. It's time for the tree to go -- either in its entirety or severely topped off and all the offending branches removed. Earlier this week I had spoken with the 'tree man' who will come this weekend to give me an estimate. An estimate is necessary so I won't go into cardiac arrest when the bill comes!
Ricky Raccoon, and all your family, it's time for you to move on!