Raccoon

raccoon 006Wow!  Opened my drapes this morning to a raccoon on my patio, looking very well-fed, or at least with his fur puffed up in the cold.  Never seen one in Tucson before.

Didn’t want to scare him, so checked him out from the bathroom window; he’d gone up a raccoon 005tree.  I went outside as he was coming down.  A young coyote appeared out of nowhere and they had a short altercation, growling and snapping.  I yelled Hey! (instead of taking the shot – I couldn’t be a real wildlife raccoon 002photographer) and the coyote dashed away.

The raccoon then went up another tree, but the sun was behind him, hard to shoot.  He finally came down again, and I watched to see if the coyote would return, which it didn’t, and the raccoon waddled away.

raccoon 00435 years ago my parents had already bought a condo here in Tucson, and had their house in Detroit up for sale.  They sold it quickly, but were still working, so they rented an apartment backing on a small river.

Apparently the previous tenant had been feeding a raccoon, as every evening it came to the back sliding door and scratched on the screen.  My mother thought that it was cute and gave it a piece of toast every evening.  Not long thereafter my father died (his throat cancer from smoking had metastasized into his lungs, even though the doctor kept saying that he was getting better), and Mom moved here.   Think the raccoon had been the highlight of that last year.

Peregrine Falcon

AuroraPRI had an interesting segment last week on the Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi.  Over 6000 birds a year!1

As I mentioned in a blog last July2, my brother volunteers at the Bird Rescue Center in Santa Rosa3.  He works with raptors that due to some injury cannot be released to the wild.  He feeds them, exercises them on a tether from his hand, and gives demonstrations at schools, in Sonoma County.  He sent a phone photo of his monitor bird, a peregrine falcon (on his gloved hand) and, regarding the PRI segment, said,

I checked it out — really interesting. Not only do they trim talons (as we do) but they replace feathers, which is called imping. We save good primary and tail feathers that the birds lose during their moult for the same purpose. The video had beautiful shots of falcons.

When I was talking to him on the phone he also mentioned a red-tailed hawk that he has worked with, not with alacrity because she likes to grab the ungloved hand.  He had told me previously that raptors kill by crushing the head of the prey, but I couldn’t find it in an old blog.  This from the net:

The power of a raptor’s grip comes from its leg muscles, tendons and bones. Researchers believe a bald eagle’s grasp is at least 10 times stronger than that of an adult human hand and can exert upwards of 400 psi. The average person, by comparison, purportedly has a grip strength of about 20 psi. 4

There are lots of raptor details on that site.

Seen Yesterday

A bald guy in a long-sleeved chartreuse shirt, black jeans and a black tie zipping across the University of Arizona campus on a skateboard.

1http://www.pri.org/the-world.html (click on Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital)
2https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/raptors/
3http://www.birdrescuecenter.org/
4http://lubbockonline.com/stories/032606/gue_032606062.shtml

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2 Responses to “Raccoon”

  1. Lynn Shore Says:

    I have friends that feed wild critters on their property, and I often feed their animals when they travel. I have often watched from afar the raccoon family eating.
    Bald guy on campus on skateboard-cool!

  2. dick Says:

    Lynne…one slight correction…raptors don’t generally kill by crushing the skull of their prey, but many are capable of it. I think I was describing the power of the great horned owl’s feet, which I think is about 250lbs per square inch per talon.

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