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Posts tagged “eastern chipmunk

Beaked Hazel

2-15-16 beaked hazelnut  268Because of the popularity of hazel nuts, it is surprising to find viable fruits on Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta) in mid- to late winter. Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Beavers, Snowshoe Hares, Raccoons, Red Squirrels, Eastern Chipmunks and White-footed Mice all vie for these delectable nuts.

This multi-stemmed, wind-pollinated shrub bears fruit that is wrapped in a modified leaf (involucre). Beaked Hazel (as opposed to American Hazel, Corylus americana) is named after the tapering beak-shape of its nuts’ involucres. One might suspect that any fruits remaining on hazel shrubs at this time of year must not be edible, but the photographed specimen was very tasty!

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Eastern Chipmunks Building Nests and Giving Birth

Eastern chipmunks typically have two litters a year, each consisting of 1 to 8 young (4 to 5 is usual). They give birth mid-April to mid-May and mid-July to mid-August.  The chipmunk in the accompanying photograph has a mouth full of dead leaves which it is carrying back to its underground tunnel where it makes a bulky, leaf nest for its young.  When they are born, the young chipmunks are roughly 2 ½ inches long and weigh .11 oz.  In about a month start looking for tiny chipmunks – the young are weaned and start venturing out of their tunnels in mid-June.


Sign of Spring – Eastern Chipmunk Sighting

 

Eastern chipmunks are up and out – about three weeks earlier than last year!


Eastern Chipmunk Grooming

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Chipmunks are known for their personal hygiene.  If you take the time to sit and observe them, you will find that much of their grooming takes place after eating, when they’ve been holding a seed or nut in their front feet .  They often sit up on their haunches and proceed to lick the insides of both front paws, after which they typically rub their face, presumably to clean whiskers or perhaps facial hairs that might have gotten a bit of food on them.  Chipmunks also take dust baths, during which they saturate their fur with sand and then shake it out, in an attempt to rid themselves of the mites and fleas that are known to plague them.

 


Mosquitoes

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Mosquitoes are as thick as I have ever seen them, a fact which was brought home to me when I stood still for an extended period of time photographing an eastern chipmunk.  The chipmunk had moments of stillness as well, and was equally plagued by mosquitoes.  There were often clouds of these insects around both of our heads, but in this photographic sequence, you can watch one lone mosquito (near one of the chipmunk’s ears) fill up with the chipmunk’s blood.  While male mosquitoes feed on nectar, females feed on both nectar and blood.  After the female mosquito digests the blood, her eggs develop and she lays them in still bodies of water, after which she searches for another source of blood.