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Creature Feature

All creatures have a purpose and a place for being. I sometimes catch stray insects inside my home and, lucky for them, return them to the outside world. Nevertheless, I don't love all creatures and don't regret when some become part of the food chain. Chipmunks, for example, dig holes all over the yard and also raid the bird feeders. I feel no remorse when one of them is caught by the hawk or even the neighbor's cat. Good riddance! There are many more chipmunks, and one less is a good thing. 


Now, how can I feel that way about somone so cute? And I am wondering, since this little guy spends a lot of his time tunneling underground: How does he keep his coat so shiny and clean?

On the other hand, it is easy to love the bluebirds. I watch them every day as they work hard to feed their babies in a birdhouse close to the patio. They seem to know us and are not too shy to allow a few photos.

Papa bluebird often stands guard on top of the house, but he also does his share of chow duty:

And today, for the first time, I saw a little head poking out of the birdhouse. It must be getting crowded in there!

While I was sitting on the patio, I became aware of another visitor. This green anole lizard wanted to join me on the lounge chair. He insisted that he is the most handsome of all and wanted me to take his photo, too. What do you think?

I would also like to send out a special thanks to the Redneck Rosarian, who invited me this past week to view his beautiful rose garden. I enjoyed meeting Chris and his wife, Tina. They have a wonderful garden with over a hundred roses! There were creatures in Chris's garden, too, who seemed to appreciate an environment that is good for small critters, as well as humans.

Happy gardening to you all!

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Reader Comments (29)

Hi Deb
I'm with you on the critter critique! Love them in the forest but most are destructive little souls in the garden. Oh well - we carry on as best as we can. The payoff is that most of our gardens still look beautiful despite bits of rodent damage and spring is a great time of year to start enjoying our favourite hobby again. Today was gorgeous and warm in southern Ontario with even warmer temps to come later in the week. Yay!
Thanks for the terrific photos.

April 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

Wonderful close ups of your animal friends. That chipmunk is a cutie, but I agree with your opinion.... they don't belong in a tended garden. Our chipmunks actually raised the bluestones on the patio with their destructive habits.

Your bluebirds are fascinating!

April 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

I've never lived anywhere with chipmunks so I love them. But I might feel differently if they'd chewed up my garden! Our bluebirds are very shy and since my camera doesn't do well with long distance telephoto shots, I have no pix of them. I'm hoping for pix of the babies. I agree with the lizard - very handsome!

April 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Love the little lizard!!

April 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Chapman

Happy gardening Debs! I too love watching the various wildlife and creatures we have in the garden, although as you've said some are more welcome than others.

Funny enough I just saw one of our local petshops selling chipmunks as pets!!

April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Oh Deb, I am one that adores the little varmint. I have one in my yard I named Chipper. He helps himself to the birdseed in the garage and I have even caught him in the plastic covered bin. I think he lives in the garage because I always see him coming and going. I might change my tune though if I had them tunneling all over the place. You have a great photo in that first image. It reminds me of the one Karin (Southern Meadows) took and used on her header. The chipmunks are so photogenic and have great expressions.

April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Hi Deb, We only have a few chipmunks here and so they are more of a novelty and less of a pest. Squirrels on the other hand; we have lots of them! They are the ones that raid the bird feeders and devour the suet I put out in winter. We have several nesting robins and yesterday I noticed a chickadee had set up a nest in the birdhouse by the front door. Of all the birdhouses in the garden, the one by the front door seems to be the most popular. Go figure! Love the little green guy!

April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Hi Deb! What a nice post! The Chipmunks look so cute with that cheeky face, how could you hate them? bluebirds are so handsome too, I wish I had some of your colourful critters in my garden!! I won't ask anything about the name of the lizard though... I mean how could you strike a pose so seriously with a name like that? Come on!

April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto

Deb, I so agree with you about chipmunks. As cute as they are, they can be so incredibly destructive,and when Toughie catches one, he gets an extra treat. Most of the roses we lost this winter were to chipmunk and vole damage... so maddening!

April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCathy and Steve

(wouldn't that lizard be an anole?)

April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElephant's Eye

Now there's an idea!! Put the Bluebird house closer to THE HOUSE!!! hahahaha! Your picutres are SO wonderful!! Even that pesky Chipmunk is SO adorable! Thanks Deb!!!! You made my day!

April 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEve

Thanks to all for your comments! I really appreciate each and every one. Elephants Eye, of course it should be anole! I even looked it up to make sure i knew how to spell it, then ended up spelling it wrong, in the worst way, after all! Ha! Ha! I was tired, but poor lizard! I have made the correction.

April 30, 2012 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Your critter photos are wonderful! I love the green anole pic. Lovely.

Not having chipmunks digging up my garden I can admire their cuteness!! Gardening is all about sharing our spaces with the creatures that were here before us and learning to live with them. Love your bluebird, such a gorgeous colour and your green lizard!

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

I love that lizard (and chipmunks) and wish he would live in my garden.

Beautiful photos. Those creatures are lucky to live in such a wonderful environment.

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

Haha! I'd never thought about how those tunneling creatures stay clean. They must have dirt-repelling fur. I've noticed the same with the gophers here, they never really look dirty, even though they dig through soil all day long (stealing my artichoke plants no less!). The little bluebirds are adorable poking their heads out. I love baby bird season in the garden.

I love my critters too but the voles can be food for someone else...

Great photos! I feel your pain when it comes to chipmunks. Personally, I like the animated kind. :)

I'm with you. Squirrels too. Not a fan of the blue JAYs either, they are too obnoxious to everyone else in my back yard. The rest of the birds are welcome though :)

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Well, I like the Chipmunk, but I really like the Bluebird, and yet, what about that Lizard!!

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

The chipmunks dig little holes in my garden as well, but they are so cute. I enjoyed viewing all the little creatures in your garden...beautiful photos.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Sage Butterfly

Hi Debbie, I enjoy most of the wild life in my garden too. We saw chipmunks for the first time when we visited the Phoenix botanic garden at New Year and as they aren't digging inmy garden I think they're rather cute; but the same could be said of moles (if you ever get to see them) but the damage they cause is huge. i love the blue bird, we don't have them here and anyway the birds are very shy and I hardly ever get a photo. Christina

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

You do such a good job with your photos. I love the bluebirds. Have not had any in my houses yet. They don't like me as much as I like them.

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

We don't have chipmunks here (I think people may keep them as pets) and I didn't realise they were so destructive! How I would love to see a bluebird or a lizard in my garden - lucky you! These are such beautiful photos - they have brightened up a very dark, miserable evening in England. Thank you!

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Gardening Shoe

Lovely photos. the bushy tailed rodents drive me crazy.

May 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGreggo

Since there are no chipmunks in my neighborhood, I can admire how cute they are, right? LOL

May 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Great critter captures Deb! I can only photograph the mostly immobile ones. LOL!

May 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBom

Those chipmunks sure are cute! For some reason we don't have any here in my neck of the woods. I guess I'm glad after hearing your woes with them. We've got plenty of the anoles, though, and I love to watch them scurry about :-) Just FYI, I linked to your blog on my latest bridge post :-) Thanks for the inspiration!

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