Visit with the Maine Theriault's: Ever see a bobcat?
delegate for the 'Docithe and Annie Theriault' Great-Branch from Maine,
sent in some spectacular photos of life in the Maine northern woods with
some rare views of the bobcat.
Before I was
able to post those for everyone's enjoyment, he sent a few more photos
but this time accompanied by a story that was written by his wife, Gail,
who writes from time to time for the Cold Stream Campowners Assocation.
Here it is.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
middle of January, we noticed a fox coming in at night foraging around
the bird feeders where I threw bread for the birds. Noticing that he had
a lame front foot, we decided to feed him. One Sunday night we threw out
a chicken carcass for him, complete with stuffing. The next day it was
still there. Much to our amazement
and delight, we saw a small bobcat come in and sit there by the chicken.
He ate some, then carried it under our deck. We soon discovered that he
too was lame, he had a bad back leg. He would only put the tip of his toe
down when he walked, and limped badly. For that first week, he stayed under
our deck, and we fed him everything we could find.
the first few days he was so hungry, that while he was feeding, I could
walk right out on the deck, and he wouldn't even look up. He was very weak.
Al could walk down the driveway to the lake, and he would just lay there
and watch him go. He would lay under a small part of the dock that had
long legs that was pulled up on the shore, and watch the birds flock around
the feeders, and cry. It was so pitiful.He was so lame he couldn't get
up fast enough to catch a bird, and I don't think he could jump. I heard
him hit his head under the deck one day when he tried to catch a dove.
He was nothing but skin and bones, his hip bones stuck out, and his fur
was matted and dull.
One day when
Al was in the ice shack out front, the cat went out and put his front paws
on the step and looked right at Al looking down at him through the window.
He got a good look at the cat that day.
When we ran
out of things to feed him, we bought him canned and dry fish flavored cat
food, hoping that it had good nutrients in it for him. He loved it, as
did the fox, who still came in occasionally.
soon moved elsewhere to live, but came back every day to eat. He
would spend hours out here eating, and laying in the sun.
of ours donated part of a pork roast, and a pickerel she cought out here.
Then one day she called and said her step dad had gotten a beaver carcass
from a trapper, and they brought it down. It was a big one. We put it out
for him, and he came every day and night and ate off it. The fox also liked
it, when he got over his fear of it. It took him a little longer
to get near it.
That cat demolished
that carcass, leaving nothing but the bones. He had taken up residence
under the deck of the camp next door to us, so he could come as often as
The last time
we saw him was on the 8th of March. We had two wonderful months of being
able to watch something so wild and beautiful right outside our windows.
It was amazing.
We feel that
hunger and desperation drove him here, and if we hadn't fed him, we think
he may have starved to death. We feel pretty good about being a part of
were taken by a neighbor, Julie Nadeau.
Gail for that great story and thanks as well to Julie Nadeau for the spectacular
photos! We're going to wrap-up with another photo that Al sent in some
time ago, but I never got around to posting it. It's a great photo of Al
and his son, Stan displaying a beautiful flag with the Theriault
'Leopard' crest. The flag was a father's day gift to Al last year from
his son, his daughter-in-law Colleen and his wife, Gail. Lucky guy! If
you want to talk with Al about this story, the photos or the Theriault
flag, you may reach him at email@example.com.
Just as a note: The
bobcat is distinguished by its very short, stubby tail, by the ears
which come to fine points, and I believe, by its usually aggressive behavior.
Growing up in the northern woods of Maine, I never got close enough to
one to see it very well. There were a few hunters that returned from their
hunt with some hair-raising stories of running into a bobcat.