Nature Notes

Vol. X August 1932 No. 8

Nesting Time for Chipmunks

Although July means summer to the dwellers of the lower elevations, in Paradise Valley, at an elevation of 5500 feet, there are still many feet of snow, and only the flowers blooming at the edge of the snow and the power of the noon-day sun point to the end of the long winter, which a few thousand feet above holds The Mountain in its grip the year round. With the melting of the snow and the appearance of bare batches of ground, the birds and animals are making feverish preparation for the short summer season. Perhaps most frequently observed in their domestic activities are the small Chipmunks and their slightly larger relatives, the Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels. These little rodents become quite accustomed to human beings and continue their work without paying them much attention despite the interest they arouse. Early in July many of them were to be seen pulling the bark from cedar stumps and logs and even from which the ranger cabins and other buildings are made. Sitting on their haunches, they use their front paws to crowd, unbelievable quantities of the fibrous bark into their cheek pouches. Finally, after haven taken on capacity loads, they dash away toward some clump of Alpine Firs where the entrances to their holes are concealed, making a most ludicrous appearance with their cheeks puffed out as though they all had severe attacks of mumps, and wisps of bark protruding from the corners of their mouths like "Kaiser-Wilhelm" mustaches. Mr. Chappell, wife of one of the Ranger-Naturalists, was much entertained and interested in their home-making activities until she found that one of them had found a way into her bedroom and was carrying away the stuffing of the mattress as a substitute for cedar bark.

by Natt Dodge, Ranger Naturalist.


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