Even though I’ve lived on this ranch for 12 years, I am still surprised nearly daily by what I see. Today it was the arrival of a late hawk. He’d clearly been casing the joint, because he perched on a tree right next to the house, overlooking the area where chipmunks have been scurrying about for months, stuffing their cheeks with seeds and rushing off to bury them somewhere safe for the winter. If ever there were an easy place to catch oneself a nice, juicy rodent snack, the front of our house is it.
I do love the least chipmunks, though. They’re so tiny and stripey. Speedy, too. I have never seen one cringe or sweat or tremble when faced with scampering straight up the house walls, or straight down. They’re playful, too, chasing each other up and around the patio chairs without ever getting winded.
In the Fall I see them working so hard to fill the larder that I put grass seeds out for them in a bowl, to help them do some easy stockpiling. They climb into the bowl and sit there doing their cheek-stuffing routine, sometimes for minutes on end. I have wondered whether I’m just turning them into sitting ducks by doing so–or sitting ‘munks, perhaps–, with them concentrating so hard on the seeds that they might not notice the ominous shadow above them till it was too late.
I’ve never seen a bird catch one of them, though, and today was no different. Maybe it was the chillier weather, or maybe it just wasn’t the hawk’s day, but no chipmunk peered out from any hiding place while the hawk was here. He didn’t tarry long. Soon enough he took off for other hunting grounds, and, I hope, for points south, which is where he really belongs. I still haven’t seen a chipmunk, though.