"Well, they've finally done for it," I think to myself, thinking that one squirrel too many managed to skedaddle down the thing the wrong way and broke off the whole thing.
And then I took a second look.
*ON* the branch, and the reason behind its sudden change in location, a young raccoon is perched within easy arm's reach, as it were, of the feeder, and munching away, brazen as you please.
We locked eyes, the raccoon and I, and it decided that retreat was the better part of valour after all; it minced back along the branch in question, only barely able to hold its weight, occasionally lurching ominously sideways this way and that to what MUST have been a muttered "@##!!*&@ !!!" that I couldn't hear through the closed glass doors.
It disappeared into the cedar to which the branch in question is attached.
We haven't seen it since. rdeck did inform me, however, that what I saw this morning was the young wretch's SECOND visit to the buffet, because hubby observed him earlier in the same spot using exactly the same access technique.
Yes, I know that raccoons are bad-tempered and violent and carry rabies and will eat anything that isn't nailed down. No, we can't afford to keep feeding a young raccoon. But dammit... he was cute as all get go. And he made me smile this morning. I guess he paid for his meal, in his own way.