How a Chipmunk Baby Boom Leads to More Mushrooms

When I went out to look for edible mushrooms in a stand of oaks, beech, and hemlocks recently, I found uprooted, overturned, and torn-apart mushrooms everywhere. It looked like a tiny hurricane had targeted only the fungi. A closer look revealed rodent toothmarks. Small mammals like chipmunks and red squirrels feed on mushrooms; the scene of destruction might be explained by this year’s chipmunk baby boom, which was spurred by high seed production in oaks and beeches in 2019.

Nature Nugget: A fondness for ferns

The fiddleheads we savor in spring are the young, coiled up leaves of the ostrich fern, a tall, graceful fern common along rivers and in moist, rich upland forests. They appear in bottomlands in late April, and they last only a few short weeks. Once the fiddleheads have come unfurled, as most have by now, the leaves are bitter and are no longer good to eat.