A Western Chipping Sparrow and his mate were endeavoring to fill the stomachs of their ever hungry nestful of youngsters one recent sunshiny morning, May 21, when there came a rude interruption in the form of a Gila Chipmunk. Whatever his objective might have been in wanting to climb the tree containing the Sparrow family - it was never achieved! Instantly the male Chipping Sparrow was metamorphosed from a quiet, timid little creature into a raging, shrieking mass of angry feathers and snapping eyes. For a moment, the chipmunk endeavored to offer some opposition, but he was hopelessly outclassed and was forced to make a very inglorious retreat leaving the victorious Chipping Sparrow in control of the situation.
This goes to prove that sufficient courage, if applied in the right manner, can overcome some exceedingly large obstacles.
- Ranger-Naturalist Russell Grater -
A female Abert Squirrel was seen one morning in early May with a mouthful of strips of juniper bark and dry pine needles. She seemed a little nervous at my approach as she evidently had all she could carry and did not want me to see where she intended to put her load. After picking up a few more pine needles and crowding them into her fore paws, she ran up a tree trunk a few feet only to come down and try another tree. Then she pretended to run off through the forest. Finally when she saw I was determined to stay, she boldly ran up a nearby tree to the topmost branches and jumped a few feet beyond to the one in which she had built her home. While I watched she carefully pushed the needles and juniper bark into the top of her nest and patted them in place.
The explanation for this reconstruction work appeared obvious. Although the nest had been skillfully built a month or more previously, it had never been tested in rain. Indeed the dry spell of this past spring probably helped materially in developing lines of weakness which the heavy rains of the previous night had exposed. The mother squirrel simply demonstrated that she was a good housekeeper.
- Barbara H. McKee -
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