Tag Archives: chipmunk

I mentioned the other day that I had been gardening. The back of my sister’s yard has been a puzzle. First of all, the rocks there are very close to the surface and it’s difficult to dig more than half an inch in much of it. Secondly, people drive over it all the time. A few years ago, we tried to plant some bushes to conceal the neighbor’s garbage pails. Between the deer and the cars, they did not survive. I’ve been a bit puzzled about what to do with the area since then.

a shady area with lots of weeds


I decided that the only real solution was building a raised bed. They’ve been taking down abandoned row houses in Baltimore. We were able to get some of the bricks and I used this to build a bed. There’s no mortar, so it’s not really very sturdy, but it doesn’t have to be.

A rectangle of bricks.

We planted plants that we thought might appeal to butterflies, birds and other wildlife, Chelone glabra, Rudbeckia hirta and Monarda.


It will take a few years to fill in.

In the meantime, I haven’t named this little fellow yet. Actually, I suspect it’s female, but it’s hard to be sure.



Well, you know you’re getting older when you think to yourself, “What is fleeting?” and your first instinct is to respond, “Everything.”

I’ve been gardening a lot lately, and my first thought was to the flowers many of which seem fleeting. So I went out to the backyard with my camera and I saw this:

A chipmunk running away under a garden hose.

However, he came back later.

A chipmunk walking along some railroad ties towards the camera.

For more interpretations of this theme, check out the comments section in The Weekly Photo Challenge.

Trigger warning: Excessive emotionality

This is liable to be the sappiest post I’ll ever write. Take a look at this picture:

A chipmunk eating birdseed out of my hand.

When I show someone this picture, he or she usually starts lecturing me on how it’s not good to touch wild animals. I know. Normally I don’t. This was a very special little chipmunk that I called Scarface.

The summer before last, I was living with my sister while trying to straighten out my career. At that time, I was taking some graduate level computer science classes. I was also doing a lot of work in my sister’s yard. Most mornings, I’d get up, take my coffee and have my breakfast sitting on the ground near the bird feeder with my camera. It was like an avian portrait studio. As long as you don’t mind that every bird has the same pose against the same backdrop, I have a whole lot of lovely pictures of goldfinches, house finches, house sparrows, song sparrows, white throated sparrows, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, catbirds, doves, cowbirds – and I’m sure I’m forgetting someone. After a few weeks, my presence became part of the furniture. The small rodents also began to get used to me.


Eventually, I decided that the bird feeder was not the most aesthetically appealing backdrop. I started putting piles of birdseed in places that looked better to me. Apparently, it didn’t look better to the birds. The chipmunks, however, were quite thankful. There was one little chipmunk that would run across some railroad ties when I came out the door. One day, I was getting ready to do a little gardening. I put away my camera and started to put away the birdseed. The little chipmunk ran in front of me and stood up on his hind legs. I had my gardening gloves with me and I put them on, took a handful of birdseed and held out my hand just to see what would happen. I knew he ate birdseed, because he’d been raiding the feeders. I really assumed he would run away. Instead, he ran into my hand and and stuffed his little cheeks. From then on, almost every morning, I’d go out and sit in the middle of the patio with some birdseed and my little friend would run into my hand.

Chipmunks are not long-lived. Global warming is taking a toll on their populations. Little Scarface has gone on to that great burrow in the sky, but fortunately I got a few photos of him before he left us.

Close-up of a chipmunk with stuffed cheeks.