Raccoon Saga

About fifteen years ago, we came home to an unusual sight. 

In the previous weeks, crows had built a nest in the holly tree just outside the window of our 3rd floor apartment. It tickled me at the time. Thought it would be amazing to watch up close as they finished the nest, laid eggs, hatched some baby crows. My husband was not so enthusiastic. He thought they would be noisy, dirty and disruptive, so when they flew off to collect more twigs, he poked at the nest with a broom handle, hoping to discourage them. 

The crows returned, looked flustered, and promptly got busy repairing the damage. My husband relinquished. I guess if it meant that much to them, who was he to argue? 

Sure enough, five eggs appeared shortly after construction was finished. 

But, on that afternoon, fifteen years ago, we arrived home to find the eggs gone. They had been replaced by a raccoon, and he was lying on his back, rubbing his tummy. After snoozing a while, he rolled over, curled up, and slept for the entire day. Shortly after sunset, he disappeared. The crows didn’t return, and the raccoon didn’t either until … 

Three weeks passed. Early one evening, the branches rustled, and we looked out to see the bandit was back, clattering up the tree trunk on route to the vacated nest. Trailing behind him, a second raccoon. The rascal had brought a girlfriend — but after clawing around for a bit and finding no booty; they buggered off. 

Last year, the crows returned and built a successful nest, raccoon free. Diligent in warding off strangers, the momma crow never left her post. The chicks grew and developed until that saucer of sticks was bursting with them. Amazing. Then one day they were gone, leaving behind an empty nest. 

This year marked another failed attempt by the crows. The raccoon again took up residence in the basket of twigs, sleeping there during daylight hours for three consecutive days, so I decided to sketch him for my journal.


  1. Ann Birch

    I think your journal summarizes perfectly Tennyson’s phrase: “Nature red in tooth and claw.” I am also reminded of the current Palestinian/ Jewish conflicts. At times the rabid right-wing Jews seem a lot like that raccoon. We must remember, however, that there are many Jews who find the situation deplorable and would sympathize with the crow.

  2. Laurel Mae Hislop

    Yes, “Nature is red in tooth and claw,” for wildlife and humans, isn’t it? Thanks for reminding me of that poem, Ann. It prompted a revisit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *