This is the perfect topic for today. I had an encounter this morning that reminded me that living with wild things changes over time. When once upon a time, they would scurry if I lifted my camera, now the creatures settle in and won’t move. I don’t mean won’t move if I yell at them. They won’t move even if I walk right up to them, stare them in the eye and say “Time for you to go home, buddy.”
We have a little chipmunk. So far, we have just one of them. We used to have dozens of them, but we had a few years when the bobcats moved in and they took care of all those chipmunks. But this particular little guy showed up a couple of years ago and has been going from a shy little creature to a brazen little furry that shows absolutely no fear of us at all.
He’s very small. Just a few ounces of stripy fur. For him to get into the flat feeder, he has a long run from somewhere under the forsythia hedge up the pillars, then up the pole on which the feeders hang, then a jump into the feeder.
I had chased him out of the feeder several times this morning because he takes over, eats all the seeds, ignores the protestations of the birds, and just settles in. This time, I opened the door, told him it was time for him to move on. Instead of running away, he hunkered down and hid amidst the seeds in the feeder.
I went outside and figured he’d make a run for it, but he didn’t. I finally went to the feeder, tipped it towards me, and he sat there. Literally inches from my nose, staring at me while I stared at him. He wasn’t moving.
I said “You really need to move on.”
He sat there in the seeds. Finally, I started shaking the feeder and reluctantly — and slowly — he jumped to the pole and left. A squirrel immediately took his place. I’m sure the squirrel is still there.
I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but the fear factor has vanished. All these birds and creatures used to run away when we came onto the deck. Now, they sit there and watch us, stamping their tiny little feet if we are late providing one of their meals. Somehow, sometime, they figured out that we aren’t going to hurt them. I’m not sure when it happened, but this year they are fearless. Even the flying squirrels don’t fly away when we go out on the deck. They just sit there on the pole. Watching us.
That is why the cage feeders aren’t up because the flying squirrels and raccoons will empty those feeders every night . I love the flyers and am impressed at the cleverness of the raccoons, but I simply can’t afford to feed all those creatures along with the birds, daytime squirrels and of course, our tame chipmunk.
I was never much of a disciplinarian as a mother. I guess the wild things have figured it out. At least I don’t have to convince them to do their homework.