Today, I learned that raccoons can be predators. I saw one catch a chipmunk or small squirrel.
I was at the FA Seiberling bird watching window, watching birds, squirrels, and chipmunks eat from the few feeders that were filled, or what had fallen to the ground. I saw a grosbeak, which I haven’t seen many times. There was also a red-bellied woodpecker, some cardinals, and quite a few grackles. They would occasionally knock stuff down for the ground eaters.
After a while, a raccoon popped out of the nearby woods. It ran around and quickly chased away all the animals, directly on the ground as well as indirectly the higher up ones. It then went sniffing for food below the one feeder that seemed to drop the most. Every once in a while a bird would come and eat for a bit and drop more bits down to it, sometimes hitting it on the back. Raccoon would go for the last one dropped, even if it had almost made it to the one before it. It started rearing up as if waiting for something to fall, but whenever it did, it would scare away the bird on the feeder and get nothing.
At one point, it decided to climb up the pole feeder. There was a squirrel baffle on the pole, but it was easily able to climb over it. The feeder itself had one of those moving bars that closed the holes to the food, which it of course triggered. There wasn’t any food in there anyway, so it quickly went back below the dropping feeder.
Eventually, the ground animals started poking back out and cautiously approaching, running off when raccoon looked toward them. Eventually, raccoon started making its way toward the forest again, when a squirrel or chipmunk poked out. It froze, and raccoon pounced on it. I couldn’t really see it well, because it was partially into the forest ground cover, but every once in a while raccoon would pull up on it and I’d see a bit stretch up. Sometimes it was bright red. It looked small like a chipmunk but its belly looked whitish. It kept going for quite a while.
An old woman came in and seemed excited to see the raccoon. I’m not sure she saw what it was eating. She mumbled some stuff that I mostly didn’t hear. A park naturalist guy came in and she pointed out the raccoon to him. He went through a door, then out the door to the outside there, and chased it away. All the while, the woman was lamenting him chasing it away, saying she liked raccoons. I saw it carry away whatever it was eating in its mouth, but it was very quick, so I’m not sure either of them saw. He came in and said they didn’t want the raccoon eating the bird food.
They both left and I stayed. Birds came back and were eating again. Then raccoon popped back out, no more meaty meal with him, and went back to looking for fallen bits of bird food. He stayed for a few minutes, then left.