I received a call from Dan Boyce from Montana Public Radio a few days ago as he was looking for a Glacier enthusiast… um, hello! Montana Public Radio, in concert with Montana PBS are doing a series of stories this week on Climate Change in Montana. Dan wanted to interview someone who is familiar with Glacier and some of its animals, but isn’t a scientist in order to get their views into the issue.
Dan wanted to get out and find an animal or two that makes its living in the subalpine regions, thus be more negatively affected by a warming of the planet. We decided on a Pika and, since I’d not been to Lee Ridge since my project, we decided to head on out to one of the best pika sites I’d seen.
We met at 7am in East Glacier and headed on up to the trailhead and started walking. After spooking some grouse and jumping a few deer, we finally broke into the alpine with Lee Ridge’s panoramic views. It was a perfect October day and Chief Mountain was absolutely gorgeous! There was a bit of snow on the ground and presented a challenge as we got closer to Gable Pass. The drifts had us up to our thighs in snow a few times, but we finally made it to a great pika site. (following some HUGE wolf tracks)
Initially, we didn’t see any pikas. We knew they were there as we saw scat under rocks and saw tracks in the snow. Dan went to an overlook to look one last time and spotted one. I got some video of the pika and then Dan and I sat down for the interview. We got what we needed, packed up and took off. On our way back, we heard only one more ‘eeeep!’ from a pika, but Dan wasn’t recording and never got their cute little call. With shortened fall days, we ended up at the car just as it got dark adding to the adventure. Overall, a successful day!
Tune into MT Public Radio and Montana PBS this week to hear their stories on climate change from all different viewpoints as they explore this topic. Dan’s interview with me will air on Thursday night between 5:30 and 6:00pm. Check to see if they broadcast in your area or click on their “Listen Live” link on the Montana Public Radio site, http://mtpr.org.
The interview is now archived online for your reading pleasure titled, “Habitat shrinking for high alpine animals like the tiny pika“.
Visit the full blog on Lee Ridge here.