The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

The Relocation of Chipmunks – 1, 2, 3 …

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With the arrival of our bird feeders a few years back, we soon became aware we had also attracted a chipmunk, or two. They were cute and somewhat funny and we enjoyed their antics, scurrying here and there and chasing each others tails. Then Nat soon began to notice the holes!

Ah, yes, the holes! One in the front yard under the umbrella tree, then one or two in the back garden, and then three or four around the back yard and by the foundation. Not knowing too much about these little critters and at first thinking they were cute, Nat began to get frustrated as these little guys were digging up little plants, re-digging the holes he had just filled in and even making new holes beside the barriers he put up to prevent them from making the holes in the first place. It was now becoming a battle of wills, and we all know who the bigger of the two (or three or four…) were!

It’s now been a couple of years and Nat’s had enough. On Monday of this week, he noticed some insulation around one of the holes by the generator and couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was going on. We unlocked the generator and checked all around to ensure that any and all insulation was still in tact and thankfully, it was. He was now wondering if the insulation was coming from some building work that went on next door when our new neighbours were renovating their house, inside and out. The research began right away on how to get rid of this pesky little problem. The internet was of great use as most sites advised that you either had to exterminate them or catch and relocate them with peanut butter being a great bait. We also learned that chipmunks could breed like mice and where there was one there was bound to be at least 4 – 5 or more.

Not really wanting to exterminate these guys, we were out shopping on Tuesday at Canadian Tire and Nat found a wired cage with trap door for catching small rodents, chipmunks, etc. Not too bad a price so we purchased one and Nat would set it up on Thursday afternoon when he would have time. He found a small piece of wood, laced it with a huge dab of peanut butter and set the cage down by the shed on a relatively flat spot, along side the small drainage hole where the chipmunks were coming and going from. They seemed to enjoy the shelter underneath the shed and the little trail from the shed to the bird feeder confirmed it.

It wasn’t long after setting up the trap that our first chipmunk was caught. Just before supper, Nat put on a glove, covered the cage with a cloth (to calm the chipmunk) and then drove him down the road a couple of miles to release the little guy. Nat had done an earlier check of some of the side roads and found one that wasn’t too heavily populated with homes and also crossed over the Friendship Trail. It was at this spot where he released our first catch into the wild where the chipmunk would certainly have lots to see and do. He would be joining the other little critters – rabbits, wild turkey, squirrels, etc. that ran up and down the Trail in and out of the wooded areas. The rest of the story pretty much goes like this:

– as stated, caught first chipmunk Thursday afternoon;

– Friday caught #2 – hour later caught #3 – few minutes after returning from third relocation, we caught #4 – just before supper caught #5;

– Saturday – hoping we were near the end, but early afternoon we caught #6 – ten seconds after setting trap again, we caught #7;

– Sunday – early afternoon and as I was about to fall asleep in chair, Nat announced he had caught #8. We then decided to go for a drive along the Parkway, but before leaving, spotted #9 munching away around the bird feeder. We decided to try and catch the little guy in order to release him as we drove by Nat’s relocation spot, so we tapped on the window and watched as he scurried into the same little drainage hole under the shed and there he stayed until Nat coaxed him out with the aroma of peanut butter – we were now on our way for relocation of #9 – upon returning home from our drive and an hour later thinking he’d set the trap one last time, we had caught #10 just as we were fixing our supper.

Nat had to admit this was getting frustrating driving up and down the road to relocate these little guys, and he was certainly hoping that the resident(s) of the driveway he was backing into wouldn’t notice the frequency of his visits. He wasn’t relocating the chipmunks near this house, but it was the closest drive he could turn around in to return home. For the first time I watched when he released #9 and couldn’t help but laugh. After giving the cage a bit of a shake you could see the long grasses sway back and forth as if a huge gust of wind had come up. The little guy took off like a bat out of hell. We can only hope that he’ll soon find the rest of the gang and they can all be re-united and in a better place!

The only chipmunk that gave Nat a lot of trouble was #5. This little guy jumped, squawked and battered back and forth all the time he was being carried to the car. Nat said he had calmed down a bit once in the van. It really helped putting the cloth over the cage each time as it calmed them down while they waited to see what their fate was going to be.

As frustrating as it was, Nat also admits that this was the better and more humane way. He really couldn’t imagine picking up little dead bodies and dumping them wherever he was suppose to. We’re now crossing our fingers that this will be the last of them. Living along a stream has its’ advantages but also has its problems. We realize all kinds of bugs, critters, little snakes, frogs, tadpoles and the odd wild turkey can be seen swimming in the water, strutting along the shrubbery and trees and croaking at midnight in the cool summer breezes, but we wouldn’t trade any of this for the world. It’s our little habitat and despite being over-run with chipmunks, we realize we can control something that Mother Nature put on this earth for a purpose – but just not for our purposes, so we have to help Mother Nature redirect some of her kids.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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