It was the raccoons, not the coyotes.
Last night for the first (and probably the last) time we forgot to close the door to the house in Duckville. We all feel guilty about it; irrationally, I wish I hadn’t written what I did here yesterday afternoon. I wish I had not just assumed that because I could see the ducks in the house, and the gate to Duckville locked, they were safe from predators. I wish I had followed my own advice and looked out for the little ones.
This morning Lynne found them — Brigid, Graham and little Blue. Bernie’s fine, but little Petra looks roughed up and seems to be in shock. We’ll have the vet check her out this morning. Lynne and Sr. Emmanuel buried the other three, and I picked up a lot of feathers — white and downy, with rust-colored stains on them.
If the coyotes had killed our ducks I could handle it better. Oh, I’d still feel guilty, no question. But coyotes kill to feed themselves and their young. Raccoons seem to kill just because they can. They did the same thing to birds in the cloister and fish in the pond several years ago, leaving the little bodies for us to find in the morning. No wonder raccoons wear masks. Nasty little buggers.
But just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean this apparently gratuitous behavior is, in fact, without purpose or meaning. It makes no sense in my world, but perhaps in the raccoon world something necessary happens. I hope so. I want Brigid’s and Graham’s and Blue’s deaths to have been — I don’t know, worthwhile, I guess. I want to feel better about what happened, and I can accept violence and death with a purpose. If anyone out there understands raccoon behavior, let me know.
We certainly learned something and, sad as it can get, learning from our more serious mistakes is the most effective (I hate to say “best”) way to remember a lesson.
You can bet the farm at least six of us will be checking all the Duckville doors every night from now on.