©Bert Gildart: Seven months ago when we departed for the winter in our Airstream, we put our bird feeders away and didn’t get them back out until just a few days ago. Remounting them is an annual ritual, and what amazes me is just how quickly critters begin to return. Already we’ve got birds during the day but at night there’s a noise telling us that yet another type of critter is finding sustenance, one we don’t particularly want.
Two days ago, Janie awakened me 4:30, urging me to get up and see what else had found our feeder. Obviously from the images, we’re attracting a rather large raccoon. Several years ago our feeders attracted a family of coons, but I shooed them off, essentially because I was afraid they’d break the feeder. But this guy seems fearless and he seems determined, as my initial encounter suggests..
With camera in hand, I opened the sliding door that leads onto the deck and clicked a few images. Then I stepped toward the rather large carnivore, prompting a hiss. I took another step and only then did he begin clawing his back down the tree. I thought that might be the last of him, but not so, and last night he was back around midnight. I knew he was there because of the scraping sounds he made with his claws and the low rumble emanating from its throat. What to do; what to do?
Our feeders have provided us with an incredible amount of joy and have attracted over 30 different species of birds, to include hummingbirds, pileated woodpeckers (Is It Hector or Hortense?), and, once, a bald eagle. On several occasions they’ve attracted huge turkeys and I think my post on that incident may provide a few chuckles. Our feeders have also attracted squirrels and once revealed that birds seem to have their own foundation for politics (Birds Are Political Creatures!), and they mirror our own. But what to do, what to do?
If this raccoon returns again, I fear I will have to remove the feeder – else he’ll probably destroy it. I’m not a bleeding heart, but I’m not going to shoot it as I enjoy knowing the farm lands that surround us still attract wildlife. In fact, on our little patch of land we have skunks, coyotes, pileated woodpeckers – and once again – a few raccoons.
Highlights for Children just notified me that they be running a story on the Gwich’in Indians originally published about 10 years ago. Our adventures in the far north have provide me with stories which I’ve published in dozens of magazines to include Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, National Wildlife, Leap Frog (for children), The Wilderness Society and many others. But most significantly it has created for us lasting friends, and right now they are much on our minds.
AIRSTREAM TRAVELS ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO:
VISITING GLACIER OR MONTANA? HERE ARE BOOKS THAT WILL HELP
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy