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by OntPhoto on Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:05 pm
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Depending on which website you read, they could be 'seen with some frequency' to 'rarely seen'. Hey, in all the years I have seen chipmunks...can't recall ever having seen a black one until just recently. This little critter must be one of the most widely seen small mammals around :) Most of us know what one looks like and can readily spot it in the field if just glimpsed for a second or two. Its image is burned into my memory which is why it didn't register when I first saw a black one. Initially I thought it was maybe a baby black squirrel except it has a much thinner and more sparse tail.

Has anyone here seen a black chipmunk?

http://www.pbase.com/golfpic/image/127566327/original


Last edited by OntPhoto on Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

by Srcan on Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:42 pm
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I have now. Pretty cool. TFS.

by OntPhoto on Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:22 am
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Srcan wrote:
I have now. Pretty cool. TFS.

Thanks . I don't expect many responses to this question as it's probably a rare sighting and likely few have seen one in person. I posed the question here to get a sort of quick sampling. I figure as nature photographers we spend plenty of time out in the field and have as good a chance at seeing a black chipmunk as anyone else :)

by Wil Hershberger on Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:53 am
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I have never seen a black chipmunk. Very cool little guy though. I would say that on average it is rare. As melanism is genetically recessive trait there might be areas were the population has a high level of this gene and therefor there would be more melanistic individuals.

by Axel Hildebrandt on Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:48 am
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Very interesting, I have never seen a black chipmunk. Are there black squirrels in your area, I'm wondering if they might have crossbred at some point.
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by OntPhoto on Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:32 pm
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Axel Hildebrandt wrote:
Very interesting, I have never seen a black chipmunk. Are there black squirrels in your area, I'm wondering if they might have crossbred at some point.


We do have have plenty of black squirrels (in reality gray squirrels that have melantism (is that a condition?). I'd be very surprised though if a black squirrel were to cross breed with a chipmunk :wink:

Stay tuned for a story on the black chipmunk.

by OntPhoto on Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:50 am
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In case not everyone knows, Ottawa is the capital of Canada. The OttawaCitizen is the major newspaper here (the other is the OttawaSun). The OttawaCitizen did a writeup (in the City section of the paper with a photo and online in the Technology section) on the black chipmunk that I reported. It is located at the Hilda Road feeders in the west end of Ottawa.

Hilda Road can be a very good location to photograph some winter specialties like Common Redpolls including the rarer Hoary Redpoll, Bohemian Waxwings, Pine Siskins and a few others. A Great Gray Owl perched nearby during an irruption year. I even saw a few Evening Grosbeaks that stopped by for a visit. In addition there are chickadees, brown thrasher, mourning doves, bluejays, pileated-downy-hairy woodpeckers, jack rabbits, ermine weasel and a resident Merlin that takes advantage of the local population gathering at the feeders. The past week I saw a Cooper's Hawk making a couple of flybys sending the locals into a frenzy....a job usually reserved for the Merlin.

And of course, this summer a dozen chipmunks are running about including a black one. According to Wayne Petersen, a program director at the Massachusetts Audubon Society, black chipmunks do exist but are extremely rare.

See story here:
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/black+chipmunk+once+lifetime+find/3431171/story.html


Last edited by OntPhoto on Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

by Axel Hildebrandt on Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:57 pm
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Thanks for sharing the link. This has to be one of the most famous chipmunks by now. :)
Axel Hildebrandt

by OntPhoto on Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:24 pm
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Axel Hildebrandt wrote:
Thanks for sharing the link. This has to be one of the most famous chipmunks by now. :)


Thanks. A lady drove up with her grand-daughter today looking for the black chipmunk. I showed them where it was (it hadn't shown up before I left).

Since the article came out in the newspaper, someone has contacted me with an article they wrote back in the mid-80's about a couple of black chipmunks near Ottawa. I also found out a lady has one in her backyard for the past 6 years south of Ottawa. It has produced other chipmunks but none of the offspring were black. It's been an interesting summer so far.

by Scott Linstead on Wed Aug 25, 2010 2:53 pm
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That's a great story! Kudos to you for getting it in the paper.

by OntPhoto on Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:24 pm
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Wil Hershberger wrote:
I have never seen a black chipmunk. Very cool little guy though. I would say that on average it is rare. As melanism is genetically recessive trait there might be areas were the population has a high level of this gene and therefor there would be more melanistic individuals.

Thanks Wil. I think you're in good company as most have never seen one either.

Scott Linstead wrote:
That's a great story! Kudos to you for getting it in the paper.

Thanks Scott. Somebody had to and I wanted to share. I knew its newsworthiness soon as I saw it and especially after having performed a quick search on the web and discovering how rare it is.

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