No, the title of this post is not a reference to some new genetically altered creature. This is the promised sequel to my bike path post of a few days ago. “Chipmunk chicken” appears to be the activity of choice for those pesky little creatures who inhabit the environs of the bike path that I ride. I assume they are adolescents, because this kind of behavior is uncommon among mature adults of any species.
A few days ago, as I rode the path, I noticed a pattern of delinquent behavior among the furry little urchins. Every now and then, one of them would scoot across my path, barely avoiding becoming road kill under my treads. This happened, not once, not twice, but a dozen or more times. And it was always chipmunks, never, say, squirrels. As anyone who has ever seen a Chip ‘N’ Dale cartoon can tell you, chipmunks are a mischievous bunch. Squirrels, not so much. (Don’t talk to me about those singing chipmunks. Too domestic.)
I may be wrong, but I swear I saw small groups of these fellows gathered at the edge of the path, egging one another on. It must have been some sort of coming-of-age initiation. Kids, don’t try this at home.
Fortunately, I was dexterous enough to evade their suicidal attempts. I saw one little guy who was not so lucky. He met his demise under the wheel of a previous cyclist who did not have my acumen. Either that or it was some chipmunkicidal cyclist.
So chipmunks are (mostly) good at avoiding an untimely death on the path. Strangely, the species who are the worst at this are birds. I don’t get it. These guys have wings; they can fly. Yet, when I approach one, they invariably skitter a few feet forward, merely delaying a possible collision. As I approach again, they run straight ahead again, still in my line of fire. After doing this a few times, it’s as if a light goes on in their little bird-brains, “Hey, I’m a bird! Why am I running?” and they escape into the branches of a nearby bush. There’s an allegory for life in there somewhere. If it comes to me, I’ll pontificate on it in some future post. For now, you’re safe.
In general, however, I really like the wildlife I encounter on the bike path. There is a good variety and, excepting the bugs, they are benign. Thankfully, I have yet to do one in… as far as I know.