Chipmunk Secrets at the Dawn of Spring

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“The chipmunks are back!” That comment e-mailed to me, followed by a second sentence, “Where were they all winter?” inspired this chipmunk tale. The story starts with food. Unlike nectar sipping Ruby-throated Hummingbirds or our majestic fish-eating Osprey that fly thousands of miles to return to their breeding grounds in Oakland County, chipmunks just migrated about two feet when the snowflakes of November fell. Adaption is the key to survival for all species, and it’s all about the availability of food. Hummingbirds cannot store nectar, nor can Osprey store fresh fish so they flew south. Chipmunks can store nuts, but there’s more to this tale of vanishing chipmunks. Continue reading

Maybury State Park: A Trail Tale of Two County Connectivity

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Don’t wait for spring warmth to get your boots on a trail. Some of the very best trails are almost in our backyards, and others are just over the county line. Busy Eight Mile Road is the dividing line between Novi in southernmost Oakland County, and Northville in northernmost Wayne County, and that’s where you’ll find Maybury State Park. The park is without question one of the most popular Michigan State Parks in southeast Michigan. This 940-acre park, managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is located entirely on the Wayne County side of Eight Mile Road, but by this summer, access by foot or by bicycle for Oakland County residents will be a lot easier, and much safer. Here’s why:

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Oakland County Is Coyote Country!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The eastern coyote (Canis latrans) is an intelligent, curious, and highly adaptable animal. Although once confined to the great American deserts and prairies where they were targets of ceaseless eradication campaigns, coyotes have now colonized our nation from coast to coast. “Unlike wolves, which succumbed quickly to predator control measures, decades of intensive persecution did not eradicate coyotes – the unrelenting pressure on them did invoke an ancient coyote biological imperative: It triggered larger litters of pups and colonization behavior that pushed them into new settings everywhere.” – Dan Flores in his 2016 book Coyote America. Continue reading