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Outdoors: Woodchucks woo

The long-running  show The Fantasticks opens with a haunting song:

“Try to remember the kind of September…when life was slow and oh, so mellow. “ 

Later  in the show, right before the song “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” the narrator says-:

It begins with a season which,
For want of a better word,
We might as well call – September.
It begins with a forest where the woodchucks woo.”

A  lovely image, but I kind of wish that Tom Jones had left woodchucks and a few  distasteful images out of his lyrics. For woodchucks, September is not mellow nor is it a time for courtship.

Woodchucks woo, begin courtship in early spring, perhaps as early as  February.  Soon after he comes out of hibernation, a male will spend a few days with a female getting acquainted—courting— before mating in March.  

And it’s not unusual for the polygamous male to move on to woo a series of other mates.  And for the record,  woodchucks usually woo in woodland edges or  fields, not in the forest.

For woodchucks, September is not slow and mellow, but rather a frantic time for serious, SERIOUS eating. They consume more than a pound of vegetation a day. They need to build up fat reserves to survive the winter hibernation.

Deep in December, woodchuck don't remember. Their hearts are beating far too slowly to remember, much less follow.

"Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa" can be heard every Wednesday on Classical IPR.