Invading Chipmunks

Chipmunks are definitely cute unless you are a bird. Invading chipmunks are disappearing with all the sunflower seeds put out for the birds.

At first a single chipmunk kept scouring the ground under the feeder for fallen sunflower seeds. Birds are messy eaters so some land on the ground. And the empty shells along with a few others get dumped there at night.

Chipmunks rarely survive long in the backyard. They seem to defy the cats and end up dinner.

invading chipmunks must be acrobats to gain the metal ledge
Metal fence posts are easy for chipmunks to climb. It is a long stretch to reach the edge of the metal ledge. If it were an inch wider, the chipmunks would be unable to get up on it. Once a chipmunk is on the ledge, it becomes a great vantage point for spotting other chipmunks who might be going up on the feeder or cats looking for dinner.

This year brought a lot of chipmunks into the yard. A few have become cat and fox dinners. More move in.

The feeder also proved to be a challenge. The posts are easy to climb. I watched a chipmunk climb up and run into the rim of the feeder floor. It fell back defeated.

Sunflower seeds are a powerful motivator for a chipmunk. That chipmunk tried again and again until it could grab the edge and pull itself up onto the ledge.

invading chipmunks pause on the wood feeder rim to check out who is eating
Once the chipmunk has gained the ledge, getting onto the wood bird feeder rim is only a long stretch. The rough wood makes it easy for tiny claws to hold on as the chipmunk pulls itself up. Any bird in the feeder then either flies away or ignores the chipmunk. Most of the birds leave. The chipmunk moves into the tray to eat.

Word got around.

This morning I watched two chipmunks at work. One would race over to the clump of grass under the feeder. The cats were sleeping in the house and the foxes were snoozing up on the hill.

The chipmunk raced up the post, onto the ledge and into the feeder. A blue jay left in disgust. A titmouse swooped in to snatch a seed and depart. Invading chipmunks clear out the bully birds.

cheek pouches filled, invading chipmunks leave the bird feeder
Chipmunks don’t hibernate. They do tend to stay in their burrows when the weather is cold. Sunflower seeds make great snacks for those times. After eating a few seeds, the chipmunks stuff their cheek pouches full and prepare to leave the bird feeder. The ledge is over four feet off the ground, but they seem to barely use the fence post as they plummet to the ground.

A short time later the chipmunk reappeared with bulging cheek pouches. It got back on the ledge and slid down the post carrying its bounty away.

The second chipmunk arrived and invaded the feeder. It was sliding down as the first one came over. Both wanted to be sole feeder invader.

Sunflower seeds are a powerful motivator for a chipmunk. These invading chipmunks fell into an alternating rhythm until the feeder tray was empty.

Observing wildlife and Ozark hills has been a pastime for many years. Read more in “My Ozark Home“.