I like having garden visitors of any kind.
A few weeks ago, these two young raccoons spent the day in the tree over top of my back yard. And then, a couple of nights ago, close to midnight, I heard a sound out back; another raccoon, of course. A young, healthy one had raided my eggshell supply that I keep to mix with the bird seed (or dig into the garden). He had also pulled the pet laundry folded on the park bench down. He seemed to like rubbing his paws all over the towel, that was fun. Then, he ate some stuff in the garden – leaves, slugs, who knows. As I started to eat my yogourt, watching him, he fixed his eyes on me in a dim, myopic way, and came up to the patio door to poke his nose into the screen: “Got some for me?” I told him I had a water gun and he better not mess with the screen. Then he picked up and “washed” the spilled eggshells. I turned the patio light off. He quietly retreated back to the park bench; I went to bed.
Now that Clyde and Rufus have raised their kids, we have new squirrels coming by to beg. This one wasn’t begging, she was hanging out. The moment I opened the patio door, she scampered off. A favourite spot for the squirrels, they have scooped away the dirt on the shed roof, which has not helped the herbs there keep their moisture. Some play dead until the rain comes back.
If you have a great tolerance for bad photography, you can see the grackle bathing here in the waterfall of the pond. The rocks are submerged below the surface, so bigger birds have confidence to get themselves wet. The pond is a mainstay for the house sparrows, but I have chickadees – I love hearing their arrival! – as well as grackles and starlings visit, and the occasional robin, cardinal, house finch, and rare downy woodpecker also come by.
Two keys to having wildlife enjoy your garden: have a source of running water, and have a “messy” garden, with brush piles and lots of wood for perching and shrubbery for hiding in. The presence of nature in my immediate back yard gives me and my human guests a great feeling of peace – and of course, occasional excitement.
Also published on Medium.