Confessions of a Rookie Birder: Bears, raccoons and armadillos

Bear caught on a back porch in Clarksville. (Photo submitted by Bob Williamson)

This year, we’ve hung three bird feeders that can be seen from both decks. It’s great for bird watching. As rookie birders, what we didn’t expect was for those feeders to attract so many animals besides birds. We expected squirrels and chipmunks. We didn’t expect bears, raccoons, and armadillos. To be honest, I don’t think the armadillos were attracted by the bird feeders, but they are here now nonetheless.

I’ve shared that our house is located on the side of a mountain. We’re low on the mountain, but still on a mountain that has a steep slope. We had to build a walk-out basement because of the slope, and the construction guys wouldn’t build the deck off the living room without building a deck below it for their safety. It worked in our favor–two decks, mountain view intact. It’s all good.

Raccoon eating birdseed on the balcony rail. (Photo by Jenna Shaw)

This year, we’ve hung three bird feeders that can be seen from both decks. It’s great for bird watching.

One night, we looked out the door onto the top deck and came face to face with a raccoon. It was a little startling, to say the least. The raccoon sat on top of the feeder that hangs off the deck and ate the entire suet block. The bird feeder hanging from a nearby tree limb has been treated the same way by both the raccoons and the squirrels.

Another night, we woke up to a commotion on the lower deck. We found a certain amount of damage left behind.

Bob put up a night camera and what was photographed during the night surprised us. We found several photos of a good sized black bear. The bear was large enough to knock over the Big Green Egg, not an easy task because it’s really heavy. We also found photos of a raccoon and a cat.

We’ve been here now almost four years, and we’ve seen lots of animals up here. None, however, have so invaded our personal space as these.

Raccoon photographed on the lower deck in Clarksville. (Photo by Bob Williamson)

So what’s the spiritual lesson here? Our eyes have been focused during these past months on the birds. We’ve done everything we can to learn about them and to see God’s creation in them. The local animals seem to be interfering with that opportunity. They’ve damaged the feeders and eaten the food that was provided for the birds.

Isn’t that the way of spiritual attack? It seems to me that it’s when things are going the best that, it seems like we can often be attacked from the outside – through problems, distractions, and, possibly, spiritual warfare. My confession this week is to stay focused on what is most important to me so that no outside distractions can move my attention away.

In the words of hymn writer Civilia D. Martin, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email