Tribute to Spike - Windermere Studios

The very best thing about our home in Windermere is it's proximity to the river and ravines, and the wildlife that visit on a regular basis. When we moved here in 2004, our crescent was surrounded by farmer's fields, providing ample food sources for birds, deer, coyotes, and porcupines. The photo below is  one of my first porcupine photos. This little guy was just wandering through the field as Alex and I were out walking and enjoying the late afternoon winter light. December 2004.

A few years later, March 2007, we had a daytime visit by this little one. She wandered out of the back forest and climbed up into the poplar tree in the middle of the yard, in plain view from the family room window. She stayed up there, or returned there, over several days. I think she'd just been nudged from the care of her mom, and she found our yard to her liking. She stayed.

Over the last nine years, we've been entertained by several porcupines. I want to believe they have all been her babies, but I can't be sure. Heck, I'm not even sure that Spike was a female. I do know that porcupines have lived under our back deck ever since (maybe before) we first noticed this little one in the yard. 

They climb into our bird feeders at night to snack on sunflower seeds, and have toppled them over more than once. When we had two feeders up they'd both be full of porcupine. We often see a line up of porcupines at the feeders, one in, one vying to get in, deer patiently waiting for the porcupine to get out.

Young Porcupine, 2012

Every spring, right about the end of March, they spend more time out before dark. 

They love fruit. Porcupines will peel oranges.

Everybody needs a good scratch every once in a while. 

So, my heart was broken just a little bit this past weekend when we found one of the porcupines had died in the yard, under a spruce tree. It was a very large adult, and I choose to believe it died of old age, after a nice long life filled with sunflower seeds and mango.

 I feel privileged to have shared our yard with these adorable rodents these past nine years, and hope to continue doing so for many more. The neighborhood has changed significantly since 2004, and there are no longer fields full of grain for them to run free in but as long as I live here, porcupines are welcome in my garden. They belong here as much as I do. I adore them.

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