Entries in chipmunk (2)


Close Encounter with a Hawk

I recently was pruning a shrub when Lou, who was standing nearby, whispered, "You have a visitor."A Red-Shoulered Hawk, photo taken in my garden on another day

I looked around, and not ten feet from me on a low tree branch, sat a large hawk. My heart thumped a bit, for he was clearly watching me. Sizing me up for prey? I doubt it; I would have been more than a mouthful!

He was nearly level with my head, and for a few moments I found myself locking eyes with him, briefly transcending the gulf that naturally separates humans from wild creatures. Finally, in no hurry at all, the hawk lifted his wings and took flight.

My garden is blessed with several predatory bird families, including both hawks and owls. I am thankful, for they help keep the vole and chipmunk population down. Voles have been the nemesis of my garden, destroying the roots of many valuable plants.

The chipmunks are much cuter than the mousy-looking voles, but they are cohorts in crime.He just looks innocent!They have dug an extensive series of underground tunnels for themselves, and the same tunnels are also used by the voles who want to snack on my roots.

This was not the first time predatory birds have shown an interest in us. An owl once followed Lou around the garden, flying from tree to tree to keep him in sight. Maybe his nest was nearby; maybe he was just curious!

It is always a delight to be outside this time of year, as the birds and other creatures go about the business of building nests and making babies. A symphony of twitters, chirps and calls of all sorts greets me every morning. New life is emerging along stems and branches, and many plants are blooming. Spring's verdure seems premature this year. We are expecting freezing temperatures this week, but the birds are telling me: No worries; spring is here!



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!