About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Chipmunks in a trees!

I've been on friendly terms with my resident (Antrim County) chipmunk population for years...and have enjoyed observing them and feeding them sunflower seeds. Yesterday, for the first time ever in my experience, I saw one climb a tree! This morning one actually woke me up by 'chipping' loud and long under my window. I heard the chipping going on non-stop all day... what does that mean? Any insight into tree-climbing and/or marathon chipping would be appreciated.

There is no stopping a chipmunk! They forage on the ground mostly, searching for seeds, nuts and fallen fruits. But they will also climb trees for buds, nuts and seeds. Mine love to climb the maple trees to eat the sweet buds and maple seeds.

Eastern chipmunks mate in early spring and again in early summer, producing litters of four or five young twice each year. So where I live in mid-Michigan you can hear a female calling for a mate in February and early June. Their call is a chip sound similar to their warning chip call, but it is not quite as loud. A female climbs to a high perch and “chips” from the moment she gets up, until the evening with only short breaks to eat or drink.

Chipmunks are solitary creatures and after mating takes place, it is normal for chipmunks to ignore each other. Females have a 30-day gestation, then two months of nursing the young in their burrow. Once the young are ready to leave the nest, their mother will help them find food for the next six weeks. After that, they are on their own.

About half of all chipmunks in any given year are young that were born in that season. Chipmunks in the wild live, on average, just over one year. They are an important food source for many animals including hawks, owls, falcons, foxes, snakes, cats and weasels. They are also important in Mother Nature's master plan to spread seeds across the land to ensure the survival of her planet of plants.
  
Related Articles:
The 25 known species of chipmunks in the world http://goo.gl/mAs2T
How much food can a chipmunk hold in his mouth? http://bit.ly/yD6Bn8
When do Chipmunks hibernate? http://bit.ly/yIfqFT
How many species of squirrels are in Michigan? http://bit.ly/A2wG1g
Will Safflower seed keep squirrels and chipmunks off my bird feeder? http://bit.ly/wYGDBi

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