A couple of days ago I looked out my office window, which gives a nice view of the back and side yards of our house. Something small wiggled in the grass just off the patio. A mouse, I thought at first. On closer look, I realized it was a baby chipmunk.
He (or she?) was tiny, no more than a couple of inches long and looked ridiculously vulnerable, particularly since we’ve seen both hawks and owls in the neighborhood. No parental figure was anywhere in view.
My first instinct was to go out there and collect it, to protect it, but I hesitated and then did what most of us do when we need to know something these days. I Googled.
I read several articles on what to do if you found a baby chipmunk in your yard. The upshot seemed to be that unless it was visibly injured or ill, the best thing to do was nothing. Leave it alone. Mom or Dad is probably watching even if not obviously around. Chase away any predators you might see hanging around. Check back if it’s still around in a couple of hours and call a wildlife rehabilitator at that point.
So I left it and got back to work. An hour or so later, I looked out again, and it was gone.
I have no idea if a predator got it while I wasn’t looking or a parental type came around and shooed it back to safety.
I like to imagine chippie junior tucked back away in the burrow under our patio, where he can get bigger and stronger and ready to tackle the world.
A case of what I don’t know actually makes me happy.