Chipmunks and other wildlife

It’s spring and the wildlife in the woods is going – uh – wild!

The cats are out hunting every day. They catch frogs, lizards, shrews, and chipmunks. Yesterday I saw Deha, the Siamese, in the driveway, hovering over what I thought was fresh kill. So I went to see what she got, and found it was a juvenile chipmunk. Deha had lost interest in it, so I picked it up and carried it off into the woods, so the children would not find it. When I dropped it on some leaves in the woods, it started squirming, and I took another look, and it did not actually seem seriously injured, and probably was just pretending to be dead. When I picked it up it started to squirm vigorously in my hands. “Very clever” I thought “You play dead, and cats get bored with you.”

I put the little guy into our chipmunk habitat, where our other rescued chipmunk has been living for well over a year – pretty happily, I think. After a while the older chipmunk came over to check out the new guy, who was still pretty freaked out. Finally the little guy settled in in a hollow log and went to sleep. That’s where he/she still is. Once in a while the older one goes over there and sticks his head in the log. This morning, Laura dropped a grape on the little guy’s head. He looked up, sniffed the grape, and proceeded to chow down on that yummy “manna from above.”

When chipmunks die and go to heaven, they end up in a place where it rains grapes.

Blue jays
The other day we were sitting on the deck, when we heard something drop out of the white oak right next to the deck. We checked it out and found a Blue jay chick on the ground. It was just sitting there motionless on the gravel, looking a bit stunned. Curious about what was going on, the cats came moseying over. We tried to shoo them away, but when those two cats decide to check out what’s going on, they are quite determined. And that little chick would have made a nice light evening snack …

So I ended up picking up the chick and we got a ladder and carried it on a branch on that tree, where the cats could not reach it very easily. The chick seemed fine, and was almost ready to fly. It probably fell out of the tree during a flight attempt. It sat for a while perched on my hand, holding on to a finger. Then it hopped on the tree branch and sat there. In the meantime the Blue jay mom was excitedly circling the scene.

We retreated, and the mom came closer, calling the chick. It tried again to fly, but it just fell to the ground. With the mom circling above, and calling it, the chick scampered off into some nearby thickets, where it could climb up into a small tree sapling to be reasonably safe from the cats. We decided to leave them alone and feed the cats some canned food in the basement, so they’d stay in for a while.

A fox
At night, our compost bin is a great place for observing wildlife. An Opossum is a frequent guest. So when I saw something in the compost bin late one evening, a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was just the ‘Possum. However, upon closer inspection, I saw a bushy tail sticking out, and I got very curious. It turned out to be a fox, and I took the picture below. It’s not great, but I shot it from the inside, through the kitchen window, lit by the backyard floodlights.
Fox in a box

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