Stacey Cole's Nature Talks: Chipmunk shows no fear feasting on hornet dinner
Richard Bradley was a highly respected representative from Thornton Gore who, whenever he rose to speak on the floor of the House, was always respectfully listened to. He expressed his opinions clearly, and frequently punctuated them with good humor.
On several occasions, Dick wrote letters to me pointing out that he came from “Up on the Farm” in comparison to my use of the phrase, “Down on the Farm” in the full title of this column. Dick Bradley authored two very interesting books. The first was titled: “Family Farm,” copyrighted in 1989, the second was “Halfway To History,” published in 1991. Richard Bradley passed away on July 1, 1993.
The Bradley family were well known for their singing ability and entertained at many granges as well as other organizations throughout the state.
The July 6, 2012, letter from the Hon. Lester Bradley read in part: “There seems to be a plethora, or as one might say, a bumper crop of chipmunks this year. I had an unusual experience the other day involving one. I have an open shed where I store my tractor, tools and all other manner of cultch. I opened a bin containing rags and took a couple out when I felt a pain in my arm. I was being stung by a white-striped hornet. I beat a hasty (for me) retreat and watched from a safe distance as the hornets swirled around. I then noticed their baseball sized nest, broken and lying on the dirt floor. Presently, a chipmunk appeared and stuck its head into the broken nest. He was eating one by one, what I presume were hornet larvae. I watched him do this for several minutes. The hornets never bothered him as they were more concerned with the bin where their nest had been. I had never seen such behavior before, but brother Ralph, who runs our campground, said the chipmunks come out in the morning and eat the moths that are drawn to the light overnight, leaving their wings behind.”
Other readers have mentioned that there is no shortage of chipmunks this year. I have a few to spare if anyone would like to live trap them for their cute behavior or other good reason.
The normal diet of the eastern chipmunk includes both animal and plant foods, but mostly the latter. They are known to eat mice, small birds and eggs, insects, snails and occasionally small reptiles. In the plant food area, they are most fond of all kinds of weed seeds and tree nuts.
These small mammals are perhaps best known for their gathering and storing of such matter as they select, including sunflower and other seeds offered to birds.
- - - - - - -
A letter from a couple who live in Bristol read in part: “We have been reading your articles for many years, maybe 40 or more. My mother always enjoyed them, too. Years ago, perhaps in 1985, you wrote about the sounds of the wind in the pine trees. My mother said at the time that she thought you had been writing about the pine trees on Park Street in Northfield. Do you think that might have been possible? (We do have your article of Dec. 31, 2011, where you wrote so nicely about going to school in Tilton.)”
When I wrote of sounds created by wind blowing through pine trees, I was reporting on the “speech” of the wind passing through our pine branches here at the farm. I must mention that my late wife, Mildred, though, never found wind in the pines as pleasant a sound as did I.
Our long-time reader's mention of Northfield, a town I have always thought of as Tilton's twin, brought back long ago memories. In particular, the enchanting arch located atop a small hill in Northfield. Beneath the arch stood a full- sized, carved African lion. I was an 8-year-old Tilton Lower School student when I was first introduced to it. The lion deeply impressed me, not as an animal to be scared of, but a friend I could “talk” to. During my four years as a Tilton Lower School student, I frequently stopped to admire that lion. As the school's athletic fields were in Northfield, we “Lower School” students participated in various sports programs each day during fall and spring. As we had to walk back and forth, it made it possible for me to visit and converse with my lion friend many times.
Our reader's letter also contained the following: “We feed many birds with 6 feeders. Every season has a different combination. Lots of Gold and House Finches this summer.
“The occasional articles you write about the holidays of the past or 'The Old Barn' or 'The Paths in the Woods' are most special. We often mail them to old friends in Florida who hail from New Hampshire.”
- - - - - - -
Stacey Cole's address is 529 W. Swanzey Road, Swanzey 03446.
|NH Angle >> Outdoors|
NH moose lottery to be held Friday
Congo war's legacy follows survivor to NH