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Eastern Chipmunks “Clucking”

10-2-13 eastern chipmunkIMG_3035Especially in the fall, and sometimes in the spring, the woods are full of “clucking” Eastern Chipmunks. It’s unusual to hear this call during the summer, but once leaves have started to fall off the trees, giving chipmunks a clearer view of the sky, the chorus begins. One chipmunk starts calling, and the message is passed on to other relatives, who join in. These vocal little rodents are warning each other of the presence of an aerial predator, perhaps a hawk or day-hunting owl. The next time you hear this distinctive alarm call, look skyward. You may well be rewarded with the sight of a raptor flying overhead.

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3 responses

  1. Tom Durkin

    Blackrock Forest in Cornwall, NY is especially chipmunk dense. I hike there often. This “chuck” call sounds birdlike to many people. However, if you walk in the woods it can be heard in the spring, fall, or summer. It is what I call the chipmunk’s long distance warning call. Humans are large mammals and when a chipmunk sees a human from a distance he starts his call. It is an alarm call that spreads throughout the forest. It is amazing to listen to how far it travels and how many individual chipmunks spread it. The other high pitched squeal-twitter call is used when humans, or any potential predator, are spotted. It is also used when the chipmunk is startled.

    October 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm

  2. Gene

    I find your observation interesting and similar to others. However, I believe there is more to the clucking sound. We have two delightful chipmunks as pets. They are very interesting and are slowly becoming friendly. They will eat out of our hands and allow us to pet them. They don’t like to be held. Today, for the very first time, one of the chipmunks began to cluck. This was a new sound from them. They are in our home with no view through a window. Obviously there are no flying predators to scare them. Thus, I still don’t know why the one started to cluck.

    July 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

  3. I have quite a few in and around my yard ( 3 acres) and when one starts, even after going underground it echoes for hours. They almost sound like woodpeckers but it gets annoying after a while.

    September 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

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