Every sunny day beginning mid-February I’ve been looking outside my kitchen window for a sure sign of spring: a chipmunk on the deck. Our three friends, Claude, Buster and Sunny had not been seen since a couple of days after our wedding in September. The neighborhood chipmunks went underground much earlier last fall than the year prior, when they were out and about until November and reemerged in February/early March. Even at the boatyard a few towns over Wayne reported the same: no more chipmunk sightings by late September and none to date. So instead of going into a burrow for three months, it’s been SIX!
What precipitates thousands of coastal Maine chipmunks going underground for winter around the same exact day, especially when they all did so much later the year prior? We still had many beautiful warm and even hot days in September and October, so it wasn’t the weather. When I saw Claude standing on my deck railing this morning looking into my window, my faith in renewal was renewed. She made it! And she remembered me! Winter didn’t kill us all! (wink)
I ran outside with some seeds and snapped the pic above. I also noticed three other chipmunks, two of which were running along my neighbors yard. I’m still crossing my fingers hoping to see Buster and Sunny very soon.
But the bigger mystery to me is this: Why did they choose today? They all live in burrows by themselves. Chipmunks are not communicating with one another when they are are underground. They are literally in the dark and deep enough in the ground so that the temperature remains relatively stable. Even so, the neighborhood chippies all picked the same day, today. Surely they are perceiving things we can’t or don’t! They are such intriguing little creatures.
ETA: Buster is here, too!