This cheeky little fella raiding the bird feeder outside of Dr. Teets’ window is a common Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus). Even though this member of the squirrel family primarily dwells in a complex underground burrow, it is not afraid to make a climb to get a cheek full of favorite treats.
Eastern chipmunks are the largest chipmunk in North America with a maximum length of one foot (including the tail) and an average adult weight of about a quarter pound. They are distinctive for their reddish-brown coat featuring five dark streaks that sandwich lighter bands running down their backs. We enjoy a plentitude of chipmunks on our property because of our ideal environment and their spunky demeanor. The perspective shot above captures the moment the chipmunk was in the process of leaping back to the window sill to then return to its burrow.
Photo by Dr. Billy Teets
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Tucked up among the wooded hilltops of northern Brentwood, Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory is considered by many to be a hidden treasure of the area. Visitors to our satellite campus not only learn about some of the cutting-edge discoveries and science in astronomy but they also get a dose of nature, history, and many other things while here. Over the years, we at Dyer Observatory have made the preservation of our facility and grounds a key mission. Preservation not only entails things such as maintaining our telescopes — it also includes keeping a record of days passed. Since 1953, we have amassed a number of interesting images, pieces of equipment, and ephemera. Every day tends to bring new surprises. In continuing our tradition of public education and outreach, Stellar Finds regularly provides an image and description of the diverse paraphernalia associated with Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory and the history of astronomy at Vanderbilt University.