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Pika

“And just what do you think you are doing?”

Life at 14,000 feet isn’t for the faint of heart as conditions can be tough. Temperatures are oftentimes quite cold, even in the summer. So, when that sun comes up and finally starts to warm things up a bit, the wildlife takes advantage of it. This little American Pika was quick to emerge when the sun hit near its home and it then spent some time just taking in the warmth. However, it seemed a bit less than thrilled about the human with a camera intruding on its morning peace. 😉

An American Pika checks out the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika checks out the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

Posing Pika

When I go to the high country, I always make time to pay these little ones a visit. They are so energetic and entertaining. This one was taking a very brief brake from gathering nesting material while at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park back in August.

It is said this species of pika may become a victim of a warming climate. Studies suggest the American Pika is being driven to higher elevations in search of cooler temperatures. As it moves higher however, it could eventually run out of places to go.

An American Pika poses for pictures on a rock near the top of Trail Ridge Road. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika poses for pictures on a rock near the top of Trail Ridge Road. (© Tony’s Takes)

Playing hide and seek with one of the high country’s smallest residents

These little guys are highly entertaining, when you can get them to cooperate. The American Pika is typically found above timberline in talus fields darting up and down and around the big rocks. I’ve found that it is usually best to just plop your butt down in the middle of a spot where they likely are and wait. It doesn’t take long for them to forget you are there and they then go about their business.

This little one popped its head out only 10 feet from me and sat there, contemplating what the big form was intruding on its domain. It quickly backtracked finding another route that wasn’t quite so close.

An American Pika peers out from its hiding spot. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika peers out from its hiding spot. (© Tony’s Takes)

Pika pokes its head out

This little guy (or gal) and I played hide and seek for a good while on top Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park last month. I sat patiently in a talus field on a chilly morning well above timberline knowing these little ones would eventually make an appearance.

Fleeting glimpses were all I was having for the longest time and then finally, curiosity got the best of this one. It would pop its head up, have a quick look at me, then disappear. A few seconds later it would then pop back up a few feet away behind a different rock.

This process repeated itself a few times before it finally got brave and realized I meant it no harm. Ever so cautiously it emerged, eventually coming up and sitting on the rock only a few feet away. Together we sat and enjoyed the warmth of the sun and a nice, quiet morning in the Rocky Mountains.

An American Pika cautiously emerges from behind a rock on Trail Ridge Road in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika cautiously emerges from behind a rock on Trail Ridge Road in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

"Whoa! Where did you come from?"

A little American Pika seems a bit surprised to find a photographer in its area. 😉

From last weekend. My wife and I were hanging out on a talus field watching a few of these guys go about gathering food and nesting material for the winter. They largely ignored us and this particular one, didn’t seem to notice us despite being just five feet away. It was looking the other way as I started taking pictures but then turned quickly when it heard my camera. It definitely didn’t seem to be expecting us.

It is said this species of pika may become a victim of a warming climate. Studies suggest the American Pika is being driven to higher elevations in search of cooler temperatures. As it moves higher however, it could eventually run out of places to go.

Taken in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

An American Pika is on alert after noticing a photographer in its area.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika is on alert after noticing a photographer in its area. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little critter, big whiskers

I never realized the whiskers on these cute little things were so darned long! Goodness!

I happened across this American Pika near the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. It was quite content to take a break and take in the warmth of the early morning sun.

These guys are working fast and furious now as soon their high altitude homes will begin the transition to much colder weather.

It is said this species of pika may become a victim of a warming climate. Studies suggest the American Pika is being driven to higher elevations in search of cooler temperatures. As it moves higher however, it could eventually run out of places to go.

An American Pika enjoys the warmth of the early morning sun on Trail Ridge Road.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika enjoys the warmth of the early morning sun on Trail Ridge Road. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little Pika takes in the early morning sun at high altitude

I made a quick trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park and Trail Ridge Road yesterday. While had little luck with ‘big’ wildlife, the smaller creatures provided plenty of opportunities. Among them was this cute, little Pika who took a brief break from gathering food to take in the rising sun.

There was definitely a feeling of fall in the air at 12,000 feet as temperatures were only in the mid-30s in the hour or so after the sun rose. I didn’t linger long as I had failed to bring appropriate gear for that kind of chill!

An American Pika takes in the early morning sun on a cold morning in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika takes in the early morning sun on a cold morning in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

American Pika poses

It’s been a while since I have posted a picture of these little ones and I am feeling spring fever beginning to set in and the desire to return to high altitude to see them.

American Pikas are hardy little animals living above treeline in places where the winters can be completely inhospitable to most animals.

This particular one was hanging out in the rarefied air at about 12,000 feet near the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park back in September. It had been furiously gathering food and nesting material for the coming winter but took a break just long enough for me to snap a picture of it.

An American Pika takes a break from its winter prep to pose for pictures in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika takes a break from its winter prep to pose for pictures in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Curious little Pika

Spend much time above timberline near any talus slope or rocky area and you are almost certain to find these little guys running around.

They are quite tolerant of people and once I spot one, I simply pull up a seat on a nearby rock and wait.  Almost without fail they will reappear and carry on about their routine which this time of year involves gathering nesting material and food.  They also are busy fattening themselves up for the coming winter, something which has become quite noticeable on my last few trips as they are getting quite chubby now.

This particular Pika was quite interested in me and after running a few ‘errands’ would stop on a rock 10 feet away and take a break watching me as I was watching it.

An American Pika appears to be quite curious about the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika appears to be quite curious about the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

Pika poses for pictures

This cute little critter provided me with a great deal of entertainment a couple of weeks ago.  Most of the time it was furiously running to and from its nest, bringing back mouthfuls of material each time.

Every now and then it would take a very brief break, stopping and sitting for a minute, seemingly just taking in the morning sun and catching its breath.  It would then take off for another round of gathering.

American Pikas are hardy little animals living above treeline in places where the winters can be completely inhospitable to animals.  This particular one was hanging out in the rarefied air at about 12,000 feet.

An American Pika takes a break from gathering material for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika takes a break from gathering material for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika takes a break from gathering material for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Pika takes a break from gathering material for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)