What ho... looks like the first bits of spring are in the air! We're now a bit past those first bits, but back when I took this one the land had just begun to awaken from a very harsh winter. I caught a glimpse of this chipmunk peeking out of its hiding spot in a tree on one of the first warmer days of the season. When I first approached he ran back down into a hollow, but as I kept getting closer without actually threatening him in any way, he eventually became a bit bolder and came out to see what was up.
While chipmunks (Tamias striatus) are often seen in trees like this one, they're actually mostly burrowing animals. The typical chipmunk burrow has a main tunnel that extends 20 to 30 feet in length and branches out into a nesting chamber, one or two food storage chambers, various side pockets connecting to the main tunnel, and separate escape tunnels. They are territorial, and despite the fact that their range extends a 1/4 to a 1/2 acre, they usually stay within fifty feet of their burrow entrance to defend it. Judging by the semi-filled food pouches visible in the picture above, I must have caught this one when he was out running errands.
Fun Fact: In order to make their burrows less conspicuous, chipmunks carry all the dirt from their digging efforts away in their cheek pouches and sprinkle it far from the entrance to their den.
Behind the Scenes: This chipmunk displayed a ton of character while I was photographing him. As much fun as it can be to shoot pictures of amphibians and reptiles, there's something incredibly cool about photographing an animal that acts just as curious about what you're doing as you are of it.
Photograph taken April 2015 - Argyle, NY