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.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Chipmunks make an appearance

The first time a chipmunk looks for a mate can be as early February to April and in some areas a second season is from June to August. During these periods, if the female chipmunk is ready to mate, she gives a series of calls known as chips. Male chipmunks gather in a female's territory and compete for the chance to impress the female. After mating the female chases the male away to bear and rear the young on her own.

If it is still cold, she will return to her home underground to gestate. After a month long pregnancy, the female bears a litter of two to five offspring in her nest burrow. She nurses the young for about two months before she takes them on foraging trips. The offspring are ready to leave the nest and find their own territories after they are taught by their mother to hunt for nuts, berries, fruits, grasses, fungi, snails, and insects in a six week survival course.

They are fully grown after about 3 months and sexually mature the following year if they live that long. 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.

Chipmunks are a valuable prey item for a variety of species including hawks, owls, falcons, foxes, snakes, cats and weasels.

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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