Good morning to everyone on this beautiful, sunny Thursday! Our temps kind of go up and down a lot in the fall, and sometimes they just fall until the next season arrives. But yesterday was 68F (20C), which is a great temperature for fall, and today it should be 72F (22C), then it suddenly cools off tomorrow with a strong north wind coming in overnight. But that’s fall. Speaking of falling, I’m a bit embarrassed. I’m always talking about my chipmunks and how all of them are males and, well, they are not all males. I have been watching one for a while since I never could really confirm if that one was male of female, but, she is a female! Yay!!
It’s Choco, one of the new ones that showed up as a baby this summer. I saw Choco going into one of those plastic boxes I have, and Coffee followed in a bit later. I was expecting a fight, but instead they came to each other and touched noses. Then they just kind of played around, and touched noses again, three times. Then the playing got a bit more serious. So Choco is going to be a mother! And Coffee is the father! Not that Coffee will get a chance to see that however. Chipmunks and squirrels often mate in the fall, though actual fertilization doesn’t occur until spring, and gestation is 3 to 4 weeks for our chipmunks.
Many members of the large rodent family do this. One possible reason is that mortality is high for the chipmunks in winter, so it may be hard for a female to find a mate in the spring. A lot of first year chipmunks and squirrels die over winter due to lack of food being stockpiled for the long winter months. Generally chipmunks, if they make it past the first year, will live 3 to 4 years, but can live as long as 9 years. They are remarkable little animals. Because Coffee and Choco stayed inside the box to remain hidden from view, I was unable to get any pictures.
This is actually the first time I have seen chipmunks mating. Afterwards they came over to me to get a peanut. Now that fall is about half done, perhaps even more than half, birds are starting to come around more regularly looking for food to establish their winter feeding areas. So I need to start feeding soon. The evening grosbeaks are around looking each day, plus the 2 species of nuthatches, woodpeckers, and yesterday there was a flock of around 20 pine siskins. Plus the chickadees and blue jays that are already here every day.
So I have a new feeder ready to go up, and today comes the hard part, putting up the new pole arm to hold the feeder. Hopefully without dropping it in the process. That’s easy to do. That’s also not a good idea. I see a female evening grosbeak is sitting on my old feeder looking for food. Guess I better get the new feeder up quickly. Time for another cup of coffee and maybe sit with the chipmunks for a while, they won’t be here much longer. Have a great day everyone and God bless!
Steve and Muffin.
©2021 Steve McLeod.