Signs of spring

I went for a walk around my yard today and saw so many incredible signs of this amazing season! Here are some of them.

The chipmunks in our back yard are great signs of spring. They are ground squirrels, and are true hibernators. They spent much of the winter in a sort of suspended animation, with their heart rate slowed to just a few beats per minute (from their normal 350 beats per minute!) and their body temperature drops to just a few degrees above freezing. Every few days they wake up, warm up, pee and poop, eat some of the food they collected last fall, and go back to sleep. But now spring’s warmth has aroused them and they are very active! I’m always amazed by how many seeds they can stuff into their cheeks – it’s like they’ve got a couple of shopping bags to take home the groceries!

An Eastern Chipmunk, cheeks stuffed with sunflower seeds.

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