Montana Outdoors

May 17, 2007

Chipmunk’s moving day

Filed under: Animals, Chipmunks, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 6:27 pm

We have had chipmunks as co-residents of our place for years now and always enjoy watching them, but have not made any attempt to tame them. We do keep a water dish full and a good supply of sunflower seeds in an area near our woodpile for them and a dozen different species of birds. In late fall, we keep the seed supply plentiful for the munks to hide away in their winter stores.

Across the back of our house we have a rock flower garden that is about 100 feet long. This year, we noticed that a prospective mother had chosen the exact center of it for her nest. This time we had to intervene, because the nest was simply dug as a tunnel into the soil and a good rain would have completely flooded it out. My wife uncovered the nest to discourage her and it caused her to move into a better location in the rock wall itself straight out from our back door. The munk then moved all of her nest material, which was a soft ball sized mass made mostly of moss, into the new location and started over.

It has been interesting for the past many weeks to see her come and go, especially the first thing in the morning when she would come out, sit on a flower planter and do all of her daily grooming.

We knew there would be a crop of babies soon, but of course couldn’t predict just when that would be. Today we found out. Mommy munk had delivered her new family some time ago and now they had grown so big that she completely ran out of space in the nest. So, she started moving the babies (who were close to ½ her size) to more comfortable quarters she had selected in an old shed about 60 feet away. We watched spell-bound for 2 hours as she transferred all eight of them (assuming the first one we saw her move was the first one). It was an incredible and enjoyable scene to watch, and I was lucky enough to get a few photos for her baby album.

Here’s mommy during her rest periods after moving each big baby:

Chipmunk

Chipmunk

Chipmunk

And here are four of the babies en route to their new nursery:

Chipmunk carrying her baby

Chipmunk carrying her baby

Chipmunk carrying her baby

Chipmunk carrying her baby

As far as we can tell, the move was a complete success.

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