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A Close Encounter

Based on true events

Little Chippy Essy, a Lesser Chipmunk, had only just found a new, lush and safe feeding ground. He looked eagerly forward to visiting this minute place of security once more, to taste the sweetness of sunflower seeds and feel the millet beneath his clinging paws. Also a feeder was there which hung from a lofty lattice, filled to the brim with sunflower seeds. There was no need then to sift through the other seeds to find his favourite kind.

Chippy's heart was pounding with excitement and his furry tummy was grumbling with hunger as he scampered across his branch path towards his new natural buffet. There it was! He could already see the top of the lattice nearing and the apple tree bearing rosy fruit. Quickening his pace, Chippy scuttled down the last of the branches and leapt upon the upper beam of the lattice. But then he stopped short in his tracks, for he caught sight of something already at the lovely dark-red feeder: a giant. A chill sprang up his little spine as he beheld the fiery figure twice his own size nibbling the very same sunflower seeds which were to be Chippy's own breakfast. The chipmunk's velvety nose twitched nervously as he gazed down in astonishment. Then, with a swift movement, he dashed off the lattice, onto the branch again, then on, on, on, all the way home, grateful that the squirrel had not seen him.

Least Chipmunk
Tamias minimus

Seeing a Least Chipmunk and an American Red Squirrel at the same time is quite a shock. A squirrel, by itself seems to be a small-enough rodent, but when you see a chipmunk by it, the squirrel is turned into a titan rodent.

The Least Chipmunk is only 17-23 centimetres in length, hardly larger than a Deer Mouse. A dapper little fellow, this chipmunk is a chestnut colour with four dark stripes on its back, between which is white colouring. It has black eyebrow stripes, a white streak below each and a dark lines through each of its eyes. Its underparts are a creamy white.

American Red Squirrel
Tamiascuirus hudsonicus

 

This noisy critter is familiar to almost everyone. Growing up to about 16 inches, this fascinating critter is as curious, and as opportunistic as any scavenger. A single squirrel can can eat 200 birds in one season, as well as berries, seeds and nuts. I have personally never seen our backyard squirrel devour one bird, but if I did, I would have permitted it because it is only Mother Nature's strategy of keeping animal numbers in check. This squirrel is also known known as the Chickaree.

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