Landscape
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Chipmunk Stowaway

I live in the forest on a mountain top in British Columbia and I have a bird feeder that I fill with black sunflower seeds. After it was in place for a few months I noticed that both squirrels and chipmunks were feeding from it as well as birds.

I would see the chipmunks running back and forth, cheeks filled with seeds as they headed back to their homes in the woods. Whenever the feeder was empty, they would hang around out front of my house or leave wild seed remains on my front porch to get my attention so I would go and fill it back up again.

I also observed one chipmunk who liked to jump up onto my Jeep. It would scurry about underneath on the frame and transmission. I wasn`t too happy about that but decided it was probably harmless while the vehicle was parked.

On more than one occassion though, after I had started my vehicle, I would see the chipmunk jump off and scurry away. So I got in the habit of checking to make sure I did not have an unwanted rider.

One day I was in a hurry and I had to go into town. I was so lost in thought that I didn`t even think of the chipmunks.

I got into my Jeep, started it up and headed off. The trip was about eight kilometers down the mountain and into the city. I parked on a busy street and went into City Hall where I had some business to take care of.

I had parked right out in front of the building and so when I was done inside, I walked out onto the sidewalk and headed for my vehicle. As I approached it, I got a real shock.

To my surprise and dismay, a chipmunk jumped down onto the ground from underneath my jeep and started looking around at the all the cars and trucks zooming past. It spun around a few times looking in all directions and appeared confused in this new world of noise and concrete. Finally is turned in my direction and looked straight at me.

I felt really bad. It had travelled in my vehicle all the way into town from its peaceful home in the forest on the mountain. I liked the chipmunks and didn`t want to lose this one. I felt sick about it and I didn`t know what to do.

But to my delight, when it saw me approaching, it jumped back up onto the underside of my Jeep. There was hope!

I kneeled down onto the pavement to try and see if I could see it but it had dissappeared somewhere in the frame. But I knew it was there and so I called out to it that it was a little" dummy" for hitching a ride and told it to hang on as I was going to cut my other errands short and head for home.

I started the Jeep up and drove down the road. I kept checking my rear view mirror and was glad to see that it hadn`t bailed out on me so far. The ride home seemed to take forever and I kept my fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

Soon I was back at the house and pulled into my driveway. I shut the engine off and jumped out, holding my breath as I got down on one knee again and started looking for my little stowaway. I called out for it to please get off my Jeep right now. Nothing. Not a sound. I feared the worst.

I stood up and walked around to the front of the vehicle and that`s when I was relieved and overjoyed to see the little chipmunk near the front grill, alive and well looking at me. I admonished it again in a stern voice, wagging my finger at it and ordering it to get off. Then I saw scurry around the radiator , leap to the ground and run off into the forest. As it disappeared I yelled at it not to do that ever again! I think it learned a good lesson as I have not had that problem ever since.

Mark Goddard
Kelowna, British Columbia