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Where We Left Off:
Three suspicious ducks waddled onto the Winchester-Nabu property. Days later, a fourth one joined the quacking squadron.
Something worrisome was going on this summer at the Winchester-Nabu estate. Since the Cooper’s Hawks became visitors, the Chipmunk Mafia went into hiding. I knew there was at least one pregnant chipmunk, Munka Kelly, and I was scared for her. I had some reassurance from my friend that Coopers eat other birds and that the chipmunks should be safe. In that case, where were they?
It turns out that the information was accurate when applied to the adult Coopers.
Hatchlings need to be brought a high volume of prey on a daily basis, so small rodents, squirrels and chipmunks may also be hunted. —BirdFact.com
Gus, The Grumpy Old Man, and I had seen two Cooper’s Hawks at times which meant it was likely they were mating and breeding. Their nest isn’t our property. If babies were hatched, it seemed like a good assumption that our smaller mammal friends could have been killed to hungry hatchlings.
Chipmunk sightings diminished. The Moretti Rock Wall Fortress location hadn’t had a chipmunk since July 19th. The Boulder at the border of Bunny Hollow last had a sighting on July 26th. It took weeks until Oliver finally spotted a chipmunk in his patio on August 22nd! The chipmunks were in hiding for about a month. On August 28, a round-bellied female chipmunk showed up at the rock fortress. I was elated!
I took as many pictures as I could. Now I don’t have the best angle since The Grumpy Old Man installed a water hydrant thing with a hose on a big reel next to the sundial. I’ve also been having a lot of problems focusing my Canon and I don’t know if that’s an eyesight problem or a camera problem. Lately, I’ve been trying to use my left eye to focus, which has proved successful, but I can’t wink easily for that side. When my eyes cooperate for left-eye focusing, it does seem better. The camera’s autofocus seems—I don’t want to say garbage, but doesn’t stop trying. It should work by pressing the shutter button halfway, then it’s supposed to focus, then press the rest of the way to snap the photo. Instead, it’s just whir whir whir whir to hell with it.
I thought there had been a decline in the Blue Jay Gang too, but it seems that some days they just aren’t here and other days, they are in full force. Feeding one or two felt strange, like the chipmunks.
The Grumpy Old Man has been setting up a bunch of new surveillance cameras. I don’t know why. I tried to help, but The Butler had to do it. If you need to pick a wedgie, it will definitely be on some camera.
I believe the nursing chipmunk is Munka Kelly, who has proven herself to be a fierce survivor. Munka, Wanda Maximunk, and Chipcent Donofrio have been able to fend off attackers (including Gus) as well as our original chipmunk friends, Cheeks Moretti and Tamas Marmotini. Tamas was the badass before Chipcent showed up. I would love to see Munka’s babies, but I’m sure they are better off in an undisclosed location.
With the new accoutrements at the corner of the rock wall where I normally feed Munka, Gus is even more stealth becoming practically invisible. It took him a week or so to realize he can still fit behind the sundial. Unfortunately, the weeds make his void even harder to see. If it wasn’t for his reflective harness, I’d overlook him constantly.
The Blue Jay Gang and the Chipmunk Mafia have a common enemy now, the hawks. I don’t know if there will be a big battle in the future.
As Gus, Oliver, and I continued to distribute snacks in the mornings, I thought it was odd that the chipmunk on the rock wall was sometimes afraid of me. Munka is cautious, but as long as Gus doesn’t jump at her, she usually gets accustomed to me standing nearby taking photos. However, on a Monday morning in September, a chipmunk was running through the grass towards the big tree—heading right towards Gus! Gus stalked closer and the tiny rodent bolted back into the safety of the rock fortress and shot out the other side.
It sure seemed odd that Munka wouldn’t go up on the brick where all the food was. She knows where to find it. I circled around to get a different vantage point and that’s when I saw two chipmunks chasing each other! It wasn’t Munka at all! In fact, I think these are her children and they are old enough to go exploring on their own. They seemed very confused at my monstrous presence. One of them tried sneaking along the porch behind me, but I was trying to swivel to take photos without moving the lower half of my body. The little critter ran back towards the hedge. It was time for Gus and I to go inside for breakfast and meditation. I threw the rest of the birdseeds and peanuts at the far end of the burning bushes so that the new little critters might find it easier than the snacks on the wall.
The Chipmunk Mafia has either mostly left, deep in hiding, or been assassinated by the predators. Besides the two Cooper’s Hawks, we have foxes on the surveillance cameras and they could certainly snack on chipmunks. After a month of not seeing any, one brave chipmunk appeared at the Moretti fortress to fuel her breastfeeding body’s needs, Munka Kelly. In the case of her disappearance, at least we can declare it resolved. Plus, it looks like we have two youngsters coming from Munka’s home next door to visit us for snacks.
Case Status: Closed