Recently, CARL HAGNAS of Warrenton brought in a photo he took of a BLACK CHIPMUNK (pictured left). It was scrambling around with its litter-mate, a regular-looking chipmunk, chowing down on some bird seed Carl had put out on his property May 9. He wanted to know how rare a melanistic (fancy word for black) chipmunk is. Good question.

The Ear wrote to MEG KENAGY, at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and she forwarded the email to HERMAN BIEDERBECK, district wildlife biologist of the North Coast Watershed District in Tillamook.