This is my new little friend, “Munk” . . .
. . . we met a few weeks ago.
As a gift of gratitude for what the forest offers me, I have been leaving sunflower seeds & peanuts wherever I sit. Usually, this is at the base of a big old Sugar Maple. When I first began sitting here the only wildlife I saw were chipmunks and squirrels - who kept their distance - but, with the gradual discovery of tossed seeds have become less timid.
This little chipmunk is the boldest of the bunch. Each day she comes a little closer, . . . and a little closer, . . . eating out of my hand, . . . climbing up onto my feet and legs, . . . and finally helping herself to the pot-of-gold, tucked in the shadows beneath!
Munk lives about 25 ft Sw of my tree. She doesn’t eat what she gathers, but stuffs her cheeks full, then runs off, always taking cover at the base of another large maple to the W before carrying on S. I stay clear of her burrow so that she will continue to feel safe.
Along with Munk, a melanistic (black) Gray Squirrel has been enjoying the fair. The two forage happily together. Until they don't! They share a personal boundary of about 2 feet. If one or the other breaches the invisible line, at once, both leap up and back as though stung by a bee! This is the extent of it, then, they go back to foraging in peace.
While peaceful co-existence occurs with squirrels, with her own relations, Munk will have nothing of the kind. The moment she catches sight of another chipmunk, she instigates a chase that turns into a wild brawl of tumbling and scratching! I noticed, after one such family feud, a small scratch on her nose!
Sometimes Munk stands up on her hind legs, calling, “chuk . . . chuk . . . chuk . . .” Another call answers in the distance. I wonder what this is all about?
Notice Munk's bushy tail. It is by her tail that I know her. No other chipmunk has a tail as full as hers! There is a slim-tailed chipmunk who regularly invades Munk's territory. Intensely watchful, he ventures in, and with greater boldness each time. I wonder if he is the distant one she calls to, "chuk . . . chuk . . . chuk . . ." Up close and personal she lets out a much sharper, "Chip!" Thus is her dominance maintained, however precariously.
In spite of how comfortable Munk has become with me, she is quick to skitter away with the slightest movement of a hand. This brings me to a question about her companion, Gray Squirrel. What will it take for Gray Squirrel to become as comfortable with me as Chipmunk?
Inspired by the tales nature tells ...