Actually, they've been popping their heads up off and on all the winter. Since they don't enter a deep hibernation, they rely on stores of hidden seeds and nuts to get through the cold season. But now they appear to be seriously back for spring.
Rumor has it the chipmunks we have around here are Cliff Chipmunks. It's more than a rumor, really; it's the September page of the Community Nature Center of Prescott naming this local variety.
Without the Community Nature Center of Prescott link, I couldn't begin to guess which of the many chipmunk types mine belongs to. This Animalia link describes my Cliff Chipmunk to a hair, but then it lists eight other related species with photos that look very similar! Based on the often location-related names, I bet the best clue is where you spot them.
They are tidy little herbivores, feeding on juniper berries, acorns, and pinon seeds. (Are these photos an invasion of privacy?)
The two in the above video seem to be playing some sort of leap-frog game. At least that's what my grandmother used to call it. This was actually taken last year on May 31. Animalia lists mating season as occurring in March. So, maybe this really is "not what it looks like, dear."
I can't see a chipmunk without thinking of the chipmunk stories my husband used to tell on long drives during family vacations. From the back seat, Isaac would plead for the next installment in the Chipmunk Chronicles. What devious tricks would the scheming little devils come up with next to steal all our camping snacks and scamper off with them?
Anybody have any chipmunk tales? I'd love to hear them.