[Tweeters] Off Topic Chipmunks

Wed Apr 3 10:16:32 PDT 2013


I'm looking at the range of the least chipmunk in Washington. It's
confined to the Columbia Plateau and a little of the East Cascades
foothills around and above Ellensburg and Yakima. The range and
distribution are, no doubt, greatly reduced. I don't think they get
along very well with irrigated ag, although I don't know if they survive
in field corners and along canals and wasteways. They are not dependent
on shrub cover but don't seem to do as well when the shrubs are gone.
There are no recent records below an elevation of 1000 feet - nothing
from recent surveys at Hanford, Columbia NWR, or Lower Crab Creek. They
seem well-represented in northern Douglas County and Lincoln County.

Of course nobody spends much time looking for least chipmunks. They are
in that middle ground between species we know are wide-spread and common
and those that are rare. So I'd like to hear from you folks about places
where you have seen them. Don't get too cocky about your identification.
The central Plateau is least chipmunk territory, but the range of
yellow-pine and Townsend's chipmunks overlap with them elsewhere. You
can find id and range information on line.

I'm especially interested in lower elevation sites, maybe along the
Snake River?, but would be happy to hear about locations anywhere in the

I guess they aren't entirely off topic. Raptors eat them.

John Fleckenstein, zoologist

Natural Heritage Program

Department of Natural Resources


John.Fleckenstein at dnr.wa.gov

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