Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, March 22, 2013

When a Hawk Gets Eaten by a Raccoon

We live on the main street of a small town, but our back porch faces out onto a wooded hillside that’s about half a block wide and several blocks long.  We don’t intentionally feed the raccoons, but we put out several kinds of bird seed, and the raccoons — as well as birds of all kinds and all sizes — all seem to like it.

We also have several parrots — indoor only! — whose room faces out onto the porch.  Sometimes an owl or hawk will hover, or even swoop down and try to get one of those tasty parrots.  The door and windows are always closed, so there’s no danger.

Last night, while my wife was in the room with the parrots, a hawk — presumably a sparrow hawk — swooped down, flew too close and bashed into the window.  At that exact moment (I didn’t know about this at the time), I was in the kitchen, which also faces onto the porch.  A raccoon was right outside the kitchen door, chowing down on some bird seed.  Suddenly there was a crashing sound.  That same hawk had crashed into our kitchen window and then hit the ground.

I don’t know whether the hawk was injured from crashing into a window (twice), or just momentarily stunned.  In any case, the raccoon instantly morphed from this cute little cuddly thing eating bird seed — to a ruthlessly efficient killing machine.  After a few seconds of clawing and biting the hawk, the raccoon picked up the corpse and scampered off with it.

I don’t know how clearly I’ve described the encounter, but it was absolutely riveting to watch — simultaneously horrifying and fascinating.  It was a live up-close-and-personal version of all those wildlife programs where you see an eagle swooping down on its prey, or a lion stalking and killing a gazelle.


Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Raccoons are cute at a distance. They can be playful and funny. But they are predators.

Tom, if your neighbors have pets like cats and smaller dogs that spend time outside, or if they have children, it would be best not to attract raccoons by putting bird seed, or any other food, where they can get to it. What happened to the hawk could happen to a child or pet.

I don't mean to be a wet blanket or scold and don't want to offend. But I'm sure if something bad were to happen you'd feel awful.

March 22, 2013 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Few things will fuck you up like nature.

March 23, 2013 at 6:37 AM  
Blogger okjimm said...

Ha! I have a brother who lives north of you, outside of Blaine, WA. He has had a running war with raccoons. They continually raid his chickens. Typically, he says, they will kill several, but only eat the juicey innards. I guess he fights it with more vigilance than his war on Easter.

March 23, 2013 at 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that window, I had to jump out of it on several occasions when you came home unexpectedly


March 23, 2013 at 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously I was watching a nature show that said a normal full size Raccoon is around 20 pounds but one that feeds on garbage and scraps can get close to 60, and can take on about any large Dog with ease!

When I raised Chickens the Raccoons where a constant problem, One time in the middle of the night they decided to raid the Chicken Coop, my brother and I got bottle rockets and scared them off with them.

Don't let that Bandit Mask fool you, there is nothing cute about a Raccoon


March 23, 2013 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Last summer we actually were feeding the raccoons intentionally. But when their numbers increased -- it went from 2 or 3 at a time to 7 or 8 at a time -- we stopped. We figured that even though we react with "oh look, how cute," other people whose houses face onto the same bluff might be saying "get the gun" or "put out the poison."

Randal: Nature isn't always pretty.

okjimm: Yup, if you have chickens or ducks, raccoons will be there licking their chops.

I've been through Blaine a few times -- on the border with British Columbia. Beautiful area.

Erik: Aha! I knew it!

I've heard the same thing about raccoons and dogs. Raccoons aren't the aggressors, but if a large dog attacks a raccoon, the dog usually loses.

March 23, 2013 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger okjimm said...

Tom...yes it is nice country. Your local is not too shabby either.
Be careful with them coons! Brother relates catching one in a live trap....and the raccoon just beat the shit our of the trap and escaped. When he finally caught (and killed) it it weighed in at 48lbs. They also carry lice, fleas and ticks. An occasion in N Wisco at the cottage, a raccon had half opened the screen door to the kitchen when I chased him away.

March 24, 2013 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

okjimm: Our downtown area is interspersed with a lot of bluffs and waterfront trails, and there's a lot of wildlife, including raccoons, that seems to co-exist with people, without any "incidents" (that I know of). I assume that everyone here knows better than to think they're tame or try to interact with them.

I know they're fierce. The ones that come to our porch, some of them have gashes on their ears or faces, and some of them walk with a limp. I'm guessing they've inflicted these injuries on each other since they don't have any predators around here.

March 24, 2013 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

what SW wrote.

March 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this information is very helpful. Recently I realized a family of raccoons was entering my house at night through a crawl area for the cats. Tonight the raccoons( several of them) were at the window peering in. My cats were growling and hissing. Going forward at night - cats are in. Doors and windows shut!


August 4, 2013 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Ruben Mejias said...

A raccoon can dispatch any bird including eagles. They'll etbup on a next and not only eat the eggs. But mama eagle too. Granted it'll put up a better fight then a chicken. But in the end a headless dismembered bird will be the result. Its just mother nature

September 30, 2016 at 3:45 AM  

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