Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

On a recent (almost birdless) trip to Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood (Birding Oregon p. 74) I enjoyed watching these Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels. While they might not qualify as “charismatic mega-fauna,” these little rodents are always a pleasure to see. Even a grizzled old birder can appreciate cuteness when it presents itself.

Sometimes confused with chipmunks, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels lack stripes on the face and down the center of the back. They get their name from the buffy coloring around their neck and shoulders.

They feed on vegetation, seeds, insects, carrion, and pine nuts, building up fat reserves to carry them through hibernation. Habitats include rocky outcrops in coniferous forest and alpine tundra.

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