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Breakfast with Chipmunks

May 22, 2013

Research & Collections

by Meg Lowman

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. – Luciano Pavarotti, opera singer

Eastern chipmunkOne of the best parts of spring is waking up with Mother Nature. Eagerly hitting the trail for an early morning walk, I was confronted by a charismatic denizen of the temperate forest: a chipmunk! He trembled in haste among the leaf litter, foraging for his cache of buried nuts, and ravenously nibbling extraneous pine needles as part of his banquet-on-the-go. Pausing to observe this elegantly striped creature devour a vegetarian breakfast, I was struck by his frantic attitude. Was he anticipating the next snowfall? Or did he fear an imminent enemy about to pounce? Throughout his feeding-frenzy, he did not relax for even a minute. As a scientist, I could not help comparing his…

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