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Interspecies Woodland Lactation: A Walk to Remember

“One day, I was walking through the woods in Northern Maine when I heard the noise of a woodpecker. It was continuous so I didn’t think anything of it. Simultaneously, I heard the loud and panicky squeak of what was clearly a rodent. That too was continuous. The tapping sound of the woodpecker stopped and then, suddenly, so did the squeaking. I looked towards where the sounds had been coming from and what I saw was the strangest thing imaginable!

The woodpecker was flying towards what looked to me like a baby chipmunk that was writhing in the leaves at the base of a tree. I was sure the woodpecker was going to peck the rodent when, amazingly, it landed right next to the chipmunk baby and laid down on its side with its belly facing the baby chipmunk. The chipmunk baby began to suckle on the bird! I didn’t know that was possible! I didn’t have a camera (or camera phone) with me so I couldn’t snap a picture, unfortunately. It was truly incredible and heartwarming!” ---Clara J (October, 2014)

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