The Friendly Raccoon

Dear Reader,

I was down in the Evergreen Brick Works, a beautiful spot but hit or miss for birds. This time was amazing. the snow was beautiful and the Cardinals, Woodpeckers  and Chickadees were everywhere and willing to pose. After a great afternoon at the Brickworks I continued to the Don Valley Trail but on my way I saw a Racoon walking on one of the rails of the nearby train tracks. I walked down a small hill from the bike path I was on to get a picture of the Raccoon. There was a fence dividing us but it noticed me and started towards me. This was great for pictures. It didn't seem aggressive at all so I just let it come towards me until it got right up to the fence and started to climb under it at my feet. I backed up and started distancing myself. I was still taking pictures and it was getting closer to me and I felt I had enough pictures so I went back up the hill to the bike path. I noticed the Raccoon slowly followed me up the hill, not being aggressive at all. It got to the top so I stopped and turned towards it. There was also a busy road right beside the path and I didn't want it walking into traffic. I started walking down the path and it followed me slowly like a neighbourhood cat looking for affection. This was confusing to me, what was going on with this Raccoon. It didn't look sick and it wasn't aggressive but I was weary. I kept walking and it followed me. Maybe it was used to friendly humans and was overly trusting. All of a sudden it took a slight left turn towards the busy road. This is where it got difficult. I stopped a couple of on coming cars and coaxed it back to the path. At this point I realized this was partly my fault. I had accidentally led it to this point and I was very concerned, when I went to get a picture I never thought this would happen so I started back down the hill towards the tracks hoping it would follow. It started to follow and then turned towards the road again. This time it kept going. Again I stopped traffic. Eventually a couple of really sweet people parked their cars blocking the road on each side even with ten cars honking aggressively at them. I was yelling at it to come back and patting my lap as if it were a dog. One of the drivers gave me a bag of nuts to try to lure it back and it came for a minute but then started back under the car. The man in the far lane car got out and the raccoon came towards him. The Raccoon grabbed his boot but in a friendly way almost like it wanted to be picked up. This was a disaster. We couldn't get the Raccoon off the road. Finally out of nowhere, many minutes later, it decided it was done blocking both lanes of traffic. It walked to the far side away from me into the forest. I really hope the Raccoon is ok. The whole time I had my phone and I was trying to call the Toronto Wildlife Centre but it was too crazy with all the cars. When the Raccoon finally took off into the forest again I felt it was ok and didn't call. I hope I didn't make a mistake by not calling them.


Danny Miles- The Drummer Who Loves Birds