Day 92, Pikas

Day 92 pika
I spent the evening in a talus slope photographing pikas. They are not a rodent — they're related to rabbits and they do not hibernate. They survive in Glacier's harsh environment by making "haypiles" under big rocks which they feed on during the winter. Pikas need deep snow for insulation in the winter months and they need the big rocks to keep cool in the summer months. They're considered a bellwether for climate change. The good news is the Park's pika population is robust. Other populations in the Great Basin have gone extinct. This one was maybe four-five weeks old. It's the smallest pika I've ever photographed. When I first saw it, I thought it was a mouse. Here, it feeds on Penstemon. It reached out as far as it could to feed. It didn't want to fall into the bush (it did once and leapt out, very upset.)