Tuesday, May 23, 2017

one quick thing

This is one of those weird funny animal behavior things you see.

My parents' yard is overrun with chipmunks. They are more of an annoyance than squirrels, because they dig in my mom's flowerbeds and try to bury seed there, and they make holes everywhere. (By contrast: the squirrels get into the feeders but that's about it)

My mom has a hanging mushroom-shaped sunflower seed feeder (I gave it to her for Christmas year before last) and the chipmunks would climb the pole and eat the seed. Well, my mom wanted ONE feeder for the little birds, so she greased the pole, which seems to discourage the chipmunks. (Next step is mixing cayenne pepper with the seed: allegedly birds cannot taste it and are unaffected, but it repels mammals)

But then she saw something, and called me over to watch: a chipmunk was climbing up a piece of garden statuary and launching itself at the feeder. But, because either its depth perception is poor (can't judge distances) or it can't jump that high (chipmunks are not really adapted for jumping UP), it would sail past the feeder, missing it by about half the distance, and then land on the ground on the other side. And then it went back, climbed the statue again, launched itself in the same shallow parabola, landed on the ground - it kept doing that for quite a while before it gave up. (And we stood there and laughed, because it just looked SO funny).

But yeah. I had two nearly collide with me (I think they are breeding; I think they are permanently in breeding season when they are not hibernating) and a friend of my mom's sprained her ankle nearly tripping over one in HER yard.

(I have threatened to live-trap, mark, release, and re-trap them to try to estimate how big the population is, but I suspect it might be bigger than my limited ability to trap-and-mark).


purlewe said...

This visual I am getting is cracking me UP!!!

Lynn said...

I read somewhere that if you mount your bird feeder on a 3 inch PVC pipe the squirrels won't be able to grip it and climb up. We haven't tried it. I didn't want a big ugly white pipe sticking up in my yard, but we mounted our bird feeders on an inch and a half black pipe and I never see squirrels on the bird feeder anymore.

tl;dr version: critters can't climb a larger diameter pole.