Maybe the birds got messier with the seed they drop. Maybe there was some romantic music wafting over the yard. Maybe the cracks in the garage are only newly large enough for rodents to squeeze through. Whatever the reason, 2011 has yielded a bumper crop of chipmunks in our yard.
I don’t ever remember seeing more than one or two in the past, but now we are overrun. There are dens under the playhouse. Dens near our back door. Dens in our downspouts. Chipmunks living in the garage. One or two are cute. Ten are messy and obnoxiously loud when they start defending their territory. I’ve had to close the windows to carry on a conversation. The sudden glut of chipmunks has also meant that they are much, much more comfortable being near us. I don’t like seeing them dart up our back stoop – one of these days the boys will be holding the door open and one will dash into the house. I don’t want to find out how good a chipper-hunter Punkin would be.
Commence: Operation Chipmunk Relocation 2011.
Our friend Carol graciously lent us a live trap and we are now 48 hours into the project. So far, Kyle has introduced 3 lucky chipmunks to the spacious living of a farm field 8.6 miles from our home. They’d have to cross the interstate and a river to get back here.
I thought about tagging them with paint just to make sure we’re not catching the same ones over and over, but so far I’ve looked at the captives and I could tell they were all different animals. The first one was pissed, and chirped unrelentingly and threw himself at the trap walls until we freed him. The second liked to pace. The third I felt particularly sorry for – she spit out a mouthful of 87 pieces of birdseed when she got caught. She should’ve kept them with her for her journey.
If we catch 10 chipmunks, we’re driving 172 miles for these little demons. I hope they appreciate the second chance we’re giving them. And it’d be nice if they start timing their capture with trips we have to take away from the house. Or we could just bill them for gas.
Quiz time: How many chipmunks will we catch? The correct guesser wins bragging rights, which I know you want.