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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16 Comments »

  1. a mother’s work

    what a great story you have here today! can’t wait to show this one to the kids. what a wonder! amazing you got these snapshots. I bet that was a great show! thanks for sharing it w/ us.

    Like

    Comment by skouba — May 17, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  2. Yes, that little gal had a full day’s work today. It was indeed a thrill to see it and catch at least a little of it with the camera. She really had a struggle with a couple of them. It was also interesting the hear the little ones “chip” from the nest while she was catching her breath before picking them up. All the time her ears were focused in their direction.

    Like

    Comment by montucky — May 17, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  3. Great photographs. The chipmunks that live in the woods behind our house have started making their appearances. It’s most amusing to look out the window and see one eating seeds out of a wood birdfeeder suspended from a metal pole.

    I knew some people in Wisconsin years ago who ran some lake cottages there who had so many chipmunks that they started using them to entertain the guestsd. They’d tie a rope between two trees. From this, they would hang individual peanuts on pieces of string so that the peanuts would be various heights above the ground. The chipmunks were very good at jumping up a retrieving the peanuts.

    Somehow, I have a feeling you’re going to let your batch find food the old fashioned way.

    –Malcolm

    Like

    Comment by knightofswords — May 17, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  4. Yes, they’re much better off living the wild life, but we do supplement their food supply by providing sunflower seeds. They’ve also taken up farming on their own. We have sun flowers coming up in the most unusual places!

    Like

    Comment by montucky — May 17, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

  5. Awesome shots for her baby book. I’m curious, though: aren’t you afraid she’ll eat it? Or shred it for nesting material?

    Like

    Comment by wolf — May 18, 2007 @ 8:36 am

  6. What an adorable story and your photos were fabulous! This really goes beyond adorable and ventures somewhere into the region of too darn cute for measure. I recall about two springs ago when a little chipmunk decided that she wanted to set up shop in my laundry room. I never saw four bigger sets of eyes – mine and hers! The suprise on our faces when we both discovered we weren’t alone! These guys are amazing little creatures! She is a beauty!

    Like

    Comment by aullori — May 18, 2007 @ 8:45 am

  7. wolf,

    Actually, she probably would shred it. She might not want to remember all that work. Of course, she’ll be busy for awhile yet.

    Like

    Comment by montucky — May 18, 2007 @ 9:10 am

  8. aullori,

    They’re cute little critters! We were luck to catch the move in progress. My wife saw her move the first (?) one and called me in excitement. We couldn’t believe that she could handle such big babies! Sometimes we get lucky!

    Like

    Comment by montucky — May 18, 2007 @ 9:15 am

  9. Our chipmunks share the birds’ sunflower seeds. I almost stepped on one this morning that was so busy eating seeds the squirrels had knocked off the feeder on the ground, that it didn’t see me until I was a foot or so away.

    Like

    Comment by knightofswords — May 18, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  10. We even have a chipmunk feeder. It started out as a half of a section of hollow log that I just piled seeds in. Then I noticed that it was too clean every morning, and later caught a white-tail licking it clean. Now it has a top on it too, so the munks are the only ones who can use it.

    Like

    Comment by montucky — May 18, 2007 @ 2:22 pm

  11. Awww how cute – it must be nice watching their family grow & evolve right outside your house. Great photo set too!

    Like

    Comment by Adam R. Paul — May 19, 2007 @ 11:22 am

  12. Sometimes we spend way too much time watching them, but we can’t help it. When the little ones are finally allowed in the outside world, they’re just about adult size and the only way they can be distinguished is that their climbing skills aren’t as well developed as the adults’.

    Like

    Comment by montucky — May 19, 2007 @ 12:09 pm

  13. Asome pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    Comment by Anna — February 13, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

  14. Thanks, Anna. We still enjoy the memories of that move!

    Like

    Comment by montucky — February 13, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

  15. Your photos made me smile. thank you!

    Like

    Comment by Karen Wysopal — April 25, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

    • I’m glad, Karen! We were so fortunate to be able to see that sequence!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2009 @ 10:48 pm


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