Early autumn in southeast Tennessee. What a beautiful time of year. The leaves are beginning to turn on the tree-covered mountains – the nights are cooler – the deer have changed from their ‘red’ summer coat to the gray winter coat – migratory birds already on their way south – the length of daylight more than 2.5 hours less than back in early June. These are but a few of the signs that Mother Nature is again preparing for a change of seasons. And in my back yard, there is new evidence too. It has been previously chronicled in this blog about the tendencies of Gray Squirrels to raid one’s bird feeders.
Now the Chipmunks have decided my bird feeding stations are the ideal source of the food they need to survive the winter. At first it was entertaining….numerous Chipmunks started showing up more frequently at the feeding stations. The family loved it. “They are so cute”…was common. Then the Chipmunks discovered how to scale the support pole and get inside the ‘squirrel proof’ bird feeders. The preventive grid (for squirrels) around my largest feeder was no obstacle for the smaller industrious and determined Chipmunks. In less than a day the large feeder (filled with sunflower seeds) was being emptied.
Note the jaw pouches of the Chipmunks in the photographs. Here is what they do: while at the feeder, unlike the Gray Squirrel, they seldom ‘eat’. Rather, they stuff the jaw pouches with seeds and then flee to the den…to deposit the seeds in their winter cache. Previously, a fill-up of seeds would last several days. Entertainment got more expensive. Over the opposition of family, a new baffle was installed on the support pole. Game over. The birds are back in greater numbers. The Chipmunks still visit but they do not seem so industrious. No doubt their nearby dens in the woods and under our deck are full of my sunflower seeds.
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More soon from the Fence Post…