Chipmunk on High Alert

The chipmunks are busy cleaning up all the maple seeds from the driveway, but, being chipmunks, they like to stay near a safe spot.

The absolute best spot to watch for danger seems to be the 4-inch PVC pipe I attached to the garage downspouts: you can see out, but when a threat appears you can run up the downspout!

[Update: the Cooper’s Hawk just swooped on a red squirrel, missed, and landed on the patio railing as the rodent vanished up the pipe.]

Chipmunk peering from drainpipe

Chipmunk peering from drainpipe


  1. #1 by randomdreams on 2010-06-02 - 13:21

    My grandmother has a huge flower garden and a problem with ground squirrels that eat all the flowers. We noticed that they ran into the culverts and downspouts she’s used as an irrigation control system so we took to putting live-catch traps on one end of the tubes and stampeding the squirrels, who would run into the spouts, then out the other side, and snap! off they go to relocation.
    This is in Leadville, at about 11,000 feet above sea level, where there aren’t anywhere nearly enough predators, unfortunately. I cheer for the few hawks and ferrets that can manage to survive up there.

    • #2 by Ed on 2010-06-02 - 16:14

      off they go to relocation

      And they get back just about the same time you do …

      I cheer for the few hawks

      They seem to have marginal payload capacity even near sea level; I can’t imagine how they’d haul off a dead tree rat at that altitude.

      We watched a hawk take out a squirrel in a pine tree a few months ago. The hawk and tree rat circled the trunk several times, until the bird got a clear shot and then it was all over.

      Go, hawks, go!

      • #3 by randomdreams on 2010-06-03 - 01:25

        >>off they go to relocation

        >And they get back just about the same time you do …

        Well, granddad relocated them to the bottom of a local lake. I relocate them across the Arkansas River (which isn’t really saying much since at this point it’s about 12 cm deep and maybe 3m wide.)

        I’ve read that airline pilots have seen vultures and hawks at upwards of 30,000 feet. The NTSB has a record of a hawk strike at 37,000 feet. But I sure don’t see hawks circling for hours up there like I do down here in the heavy-atmosphere lowlands at a mere 6000′ above sealevel.

        I was once privileged to see a flock of bald eagles (I had no idea! but there were 12 of them, or thereabouts) completely obliterate a prairie dog colony over a period of a couple of hours. It was awesome. There was one big tree, with all these HUGE BIRDS in the top, and the lower branches were filled with these tiny birds — well, okay, they were crows and magpies, but they looked like chickadees in comparison — who were grabbing all the meaty bits the eagles were letting drop, and ever few minutes or so an eagle would drop out of the tree and *wham*. Goldens are much better hunters, but these prairie dogs were living in the middle of the suburbs and had totally forgotten the concept of fear.

        • #4 by Ed on 2010-06-03 - 07:12

          at this point it’s about 12 cm deep and maybe 3m wide

          I’ve been idly considering a critter cannon along the lines of a spud gun with a discarding sabot that would fire rodents across the Mighty Wappingers Creek at the back of our property into the fields formerly known as Red Oaks Mill Farm. The creek is sufficiently wide & deep that they’d settle down over there just fine, methinks, if they survived the reentry buffeting…

          • #5 by randomdreams on 2010-06-03 - 13:14

            That is the most awesome idea I’ve heard in months. Nice wide chunk of sched-40 PVC, breech-loading… you know what, hawks are not stupid. I wonder if you spent the time chucking chipmunks up at them, they’d actually learn to recognize when you came out and snag them out of the air.

            “Oh, that? It’s my squirrel gun. Yeah, it’s kind of large. Big squirrels, you know.”

            Oh man I’m going to be grinning all day at that mental image.

            • #6 by Ed on 2010-06-03 - 14:43

              How about a Marmot Mortar?

              Join it up with a live trap and you’ve got an auto-loader … this concept has legs!

  2. #7 by CircuitGizmo on 2010-06-04 - 16:09

    “Oh, that? It’s my squirrel gun. Yeah, it’s kind of large. Big squirrels, you know.”

    “Join it up with a live trap and you’ve got an auto-loader”

    I nearly wet myself laughing. This has to be done! HAS to be!

    • #8 by CircuitGizmo on 2010-06-04 - 16:13

      Ed: “I have a semi-automatic squirrel shooter.”

      Bystander: “Oh? What ammo does it take? .22?”

      Ed: “Pay close attention. I’ll tell you one more time…”

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