A Conversation among Shirley, Bob, Eva and Uncle Dick
Who’s Been Eating My Corn?
Once upon a time The McGlynn visited the rural country of beautiful southern Illinois. One of his princesses from the north had sent corn with him to attract squirrels. As the kingdoms of north and south, and around the world all know, The McGlynn is nuts about squirrels, especially his grey army.
The Elder McGlynn shared the corn with his Younger brother, the skeptic. In true family fashion the Elder and Younger brothers discussed the merits of corn in attracting animals. The Younger argued that the corn would draw deer into the yard, which in turn would eat the lovely plants, trees and grasses that the Younger has groomed. The Elder, of course, disputed the contentions of his Younger sibling. These brothers provided daily entertainment for the quiet Jester who was filled with internal merriment with the debates each day.
At last, during the argument phase, an important observation was made. There was evidence that the corn had been nibbled on during the night. Days of opinion sharing had not resolved the conflict.
Who was eating the corn?
The Elder: “If it is not a squirrel, then it is a raccoon.”
The Younger: “It’s a deer.”
The Jester: “Perhaps it’s a cat.”
Experimentation was needed. Fortunately, the Lover of the Elder had sent a wildlife camera to capture the night life in the south. The Wildview digital camera had never been used and came without a manual. The Younger brother, as would be expected, searched the internet for detailed instructions on the operation of the equipment. Scouting the corn eaters would require the proper resolution, timing, distance and image settings.
Night 1 of experiment:,
No corn was eaten; no pictures were taken by the infra-red camera. Conclusion: Camera settings need to be adjusted.
Night 2 about 2:04 AM:
A large mass was captured on the camera. The next day the Brothers found it difficult to determine the identity. Based on the size, the Younger was sure it was not a deer. The Elder maintained his raccoon hypothesis. The Jester was quiet. Conclusion: Adjust distance of camera for night 3.
Unbeknownst to the brothers the Jester had donned a hoodie and with the help of a stuffed papa bear and a reaching tool with extender, had triggered the camera at 2:04 AM. The blurred image was the big papa bear.
Night 3 No activity
Night 4 about 3:53 AM. A furry mass triggered the camera. After the next morning’s thorough examination of the photo both the Elder and the Younger concluded it was a squirrel. The Elder based his identification on the fur and long tail. Although the skeptical Younger brother agreed that the critter was a squirrel, he was not totally satisfied with the experiment. Conclusion by the Jester: “One sees what one expects to see!”.
During night 4 at 3:53 AM the Jester had donned her hoodie again, and with the aid of a stuffed mamma bear, triggered the camera. An unexpected event occurred as the hooded Jester was climbing a small fence, carrying mamma bear and a reaching tool. A car pulled up in front of the house so the lights highlighted the Jester. Oh my! The Jester hid behind a tree, hoping she would not be seen as a prowler. Whew. It was the newspaper delivery. No sirens.
Night 5 at 2:15 AM
The Younger had set the camera 30 feet from the corn and set the video to be activated by motion. The Jester was unaware of the newest settings. On night 4 at 2 AM the Jester used the ‘Baby Bear” to “eat the corn” and try to trigger the camera. To stay out of range of the camera she had to slip through a fence and get behind a tree, extend the baby bear to the corn. The corn swung back and forth. No camera action. The baby bear jumped up and down at the corn. No camera action. The Jester slipped back through the fence and helped the baby bear attack the corn from the opposite side. Yikes! The camera came on… and stayed on. The video was focused on an area away from the corn. It was filming the Jester. BUSTED!
The corn was eaten. The next morning the three little bears, who were nowhere around during night 6 , wanted to know “Who’s been eating my corn?”
Could it be a Raccoon?
The unanswered questions will await the next visit from The McGlynn. Rumor has it that the Elder is trekking north to resume his recently abdicated reign over the northern country. Perhaps his gentle and supportive behavior while in the south will qualify him for resuming his sovereign status.
To be continued
Who’s Been Eating My Corn? The Answer
The skeptical Younger brother has never been able to rest without answers. Relentless persistence has paid off for him this time. Without the help of the infrared camera or elaborate experimental design, he solved the mystery.
The Princess from the North and The McGlynn, the Elder, may begin their rejoicing. The Grey Army has invaded southern Illinois in force. The chubby troops feed on the corn daily. The Little People of the South revel at the acrobatic stunts of the Greys as they race along the fence top.
Proof: Squirrel Caught in the Act without Jester intervention