While sipping afternoon tea and gazing out upon the world, I spotted the brown rabbit in our drive. He was there for a long while, nibbling the grasses. I watched him with my big binoculars, and I stepped out onto the deck to take his photo.
I kept my eye upon him until he hopped into the brush, out of view. Then I went to the kitchen to heat more water. Waiting for the kettle, I glanced out at the front garden, and behind the rock wall saw a tall stalk of evening primrose or something weedy moving. As if somebody was nibbling on it. Assuming it was the rabbit, I grabbed the camera and went outside, thinking I could sneak up on it and get a good close-up shot.
But when I came around the side of the garden, I saw that it wasn't a rabbit at all.
A baby chipmunk was entangled in the mesh of the deer barrier that protects my roses. In its frantic--and futile effort to get free, it was jiggling against the stalk.
I raced back into the house for a pair of scissors and my garden gloves--to protect myself from chipmunk teeth.
When I returned, the little thing looked up at me, pleading with me to rescue it.
As it continued moving about, I carefully cut through the mesh, which had abraded the little legs. I waited for the chipmunk to move away, quickly, but it was obvious it's front leg was injured.
So, wanting to assess his condition more fully, I scooped him up and placed him in the old aquarium I've previously used for a (successful) baby chipmunk rehabilitation effort. And as I've done before, I placed the new habitat on the kitchen counter (too high up for the dogs to see it) and gave the wee one a little time to adjust.
Before long, I got out the trusty dropper, and offered some water. That kid was thirsty!
So thirsty that I wondered how long it had been trapped like that.
Interest in food is an excellent sign. He tucked some safflower seeds into his mouth pouch.
Then he started eating them--an even better sign. There was some difficulty in opening the seeds, due to the weak "arm." But at least he got a meal. I went out to gather some acorns...being able to open an acorn is crucial to survival in the wild.
He's napping now, curled in a ball, breathing normally.
I have no idea how this is going to turn out. I hope to release him soon. I wonder if he's a direct descendant of Tarzan, the baby chipmunk I raised by hand--her eyes hadn't even opened when I found her--and eventually released to the wild. The geography of the rescue is about right, but there's really no way to tell.
I never did see that rabbit again, who doesn't even know that he was the catalyst for the rescue!
I may name the chipmunk Tom Robinson, from To Kill a Mockingbird--the first literary character I could think of with a damaged arm. Only Tom didn't have a happy ending. So if anyone can think of a different namesake, please let me know.
Maybe Johnny Tremaine would be better.