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Stickin’ with the critter photography today (as they do so crack me up!) :-) 

A start of a good day involves sunshine and any amount of time spent outside interacting with the local wildlife. Some of the morning chores include dumping and filling birdbaths, setting out corn and filling the feeders. The best time for me (and the part I look the most forward to) is feeding the chipmunks and squirrels their favorite treat (peanuts in the shell). All the resident furries literally come a-runnin’ when they see me walk across the lawn with the ‘peanut’ cup and take a seat on the large rock at the edge of the pool deck. 

And so the frenzy begins… 

“Hi there, King!” (as in ‘King of the Hill’ since that is where this ‘munk’s home is) and “Good Morning, Chippy!” (s/he lives under our grey shed). “Nice to see you, Squishy!” (lives near the rock waterfall), and so on. Not all of them have names, but we do the best we can and have come to learn how to identify each and every one. Here is a very familiar sight:

“Chipmunk Cheeks” (Eastern Chipmunk) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/400s, -0.3EV, ISO 640

And if I am not quite quick enough in my peanut tossing, many will come right up to my feet or even, jump up next to me on the rock. I never tire of it.

“Sign? What Sign?” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5, 1/200s, +0.3EV, ISO 400

During the chaos last Thursday morning I was very surprised to see a couple of young chipmunks crawling all over our enormous condo-style birdhouse. From what I could deduce, the little ones were emerging from the nest to now be on their own.

The ‘alpha’ baby left pretty quickly (before I could even get the camera in place) but the second baby was much more cautious. S/he didn’t quite seem to know what to make of me or the camera, but quickly realized I meant no harm. (Surely, Momma must have told the wee thing to keep an eye out for the very ‘nice humans’, dontchathink?) ;-)

I watched him/her for quite

“Home is Where you Make it” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 640, Built-in Front Curtain i-TTL Fill Flash, -1.0 EV

some time as s/he went between episodes of thoroughly checking out the strange new world around him/her and then retreating back to the safety of one of the compartments. 

Of course, I have no idea if the little beast is male or female. The only name I could come up with is ‘Birdie’. It just seems to fit.

Check out that dark spot on the left chest… it will certainly help us to identify Birdie if/when s/he joins in the morning  feeding ritual (fingers crossed!) When s/he left  for the last time, I wished the little one well and walked back to the house.  

Afterall, I was already off to a great day. :-)

“Hole New World” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 640

25 Comments

  1. So cute! I love that you feed them and that they are so trusting! That chipmunkhouse is spectacular!

    How’s your niece doing on her project?

    • Oh, my! Thank you Becky! I LOVE that birdhouse….a creation of mine from many, many years ago! There was this old apple barrel left in the yard and when it began to decay, I took it apart and used the pieces to create a very large cond-style house (it stands over 3′ tall). Last year it got a major roof overhaul and I couldn’t be more pleased with the new look! I guess the chipmunks approve! :-)

      RE: Lindsay…Despite a rough start (storms, chilly temps and major flooding in VT), Lindsay reports that she is learning alot and is doing well! She’s been able to catch and tag several birds I am planning on sending her a care package soon…just a few more items to pick up. Thanks so much for asking! :-)

  2. So, you also talk to the animals. Your talents never cease to amaze me, Tracy. How much do you charge for the chipmunk condo? :D

    • Doesn’t everybody?? ;-)

      Thank you, Scott. You are very kind.

      Sadly, the chipmunks were squatters so I didn’t make a cent! :-)

  3. These are all so cute! I love that birdie condo, and the little chipmunk sticking her head out. Wonderful! :)

    We just saw our first chipmunk near the house this past weekend. We normally don’t see them, probably because there are so many wild areas for them to live.

    • Glad you think so, Robin! Thanks! :-)

      Our chipmunks stay further from the house as well. These shots are from back in the yard near our pool which is set far away from the house in an open sunny area. That isn’t to say we don’t get our share of the furries near the house…all of them are very aware of where the ‘two who bring us food’ come from! ;-)

  4. that first one cracks me up!!

  5. These are all amazing, M.P., but that last one is just TOO GOOD! I love it!
    “Hehehe… why, that’s almost as much fun as talkin’ about propane and procaine accessories…” *in my best Hank Hill* :)

    • Thanks so much, Sig! How could I resist the obvious personality of this little critter??

      You don’t talk like Hank Hill normally?? ;-)

      • Hahaha… I always do (just wanted to refresh everyone’s memory)! :)

  6. “Squishy !!”… lol… Dare I ask why s/he’s called Squishy.. ;)
    How great though to have such a selection of wildlife in your garden… If I had similar I’m sure I’d struggle to leave for work each morning (actually, I struggle regardless if I’m honest.. lol).

    • Since you asked… the first ‘Squishy’ took up residence in the rocks that make up the pool’s waterfall and s/he would sit on the middle rock – sort of like his/her ‘balcony’ and watch us eat dinner (we’d barbeque out and sit poolside). So, we started leaving seeds and chips (LOVED Stacy’s cinnamon-sugar pita chips – I’m not kidding!) and whatnot and it became a ritual. All of us eating dinner toghether.

      We had just seen ‘Finding Nemo’ (LOVE that movie!) and I believe I was the first to quote Dory:

      “I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy. Come on, Squishy. Come on, little Squishy.”

      From that day on, the name stuck and every chipmunk since who has taken up residence in those same rocks has been named ‘Squishy’. Sadly, none have repeated the antics of that very first Squishy so s/he will always remain special!

      Yes, we are truly blessed. I don’t need fancy critters…the mice, birds, squirrels and chipmunks keep me so well entertained. Eacy year, I see just how personable they really are!

      Thanks, Brian! :-)

  7. Cute chipmunk!

  8. More exciting stories from “Tracy Zoo” ;-) – surprising and great fun! I love the last photo of your friend looking out of the birdhouse – waiting for the next meal…

    • Ha! We actually prefer ‘Milkay’s Animal Kingdom”. :-D

      Yes, I love the way our landscape still has the ability to surprise, delight and amaze. I just have to keep my heart – and mind – open to it, lest I forget just how lucky we are.

      Glad these could delight you as well, Truels! :-)

  9. They are SO adorable!!! ♥ How lucky you are to have all t hese cute little critters in your yard.
    Those cheeks are just too cute… maybe the other ones want to be birds when they grow up? ;-)

    • They really aren’t very different than kids…bribe them with treats and they do your bidding! LOL!

      Funny you should mention the cheeks…when I was a kid, I was given the nickname ‘chipmunk cheeks’. Perhaps that is why I feel such a camaraderie to these furry beasts, hmmmm?

      Ha! Maybe! Can you just picture them with the teeny-tiny superman cape?

      Thanks, M! :-)

  10. I love these shots…the little guys look downright impish! Could be your captions, too!

  11. These guys are adorable. Great shots!

  12. I LOVE these Tracy. :-)Too precious beyond words. I am so glad to see these and looking forward to all of your summertime critter photos. You are THE BEST! Just LOVE your work.

    • Aw, thanks so much, Carol! You are always so kind in your comments. Very much appreciated. :-)

      I agree! Too precious this little one! :-)


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By A very good year « Milkay Photography on 17 Nov 2011 at 1:58 pm

    [...] are often featured in my photos and this adorable little chipmunk stole my heart in May: "Home is Where you Make it" (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, [...]

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