Ochotona princeps

1/2500s at f8.0, ISO:1250, Canon EOS-1D X w/800mm, x1.4 converter

The American pika a diurnal species of pika, is found in the mountains of western North America, usually in boulder fields at or above the tree line. They are herbivorous, smaller relatives of rabbits and hares. It eats a large variety of green plants, including different kinds of grasses, sedges, thistles and fireweed. Although pikas can meet their water demands from the vegetation they eat, they do drink water if it is available. Pikas have two different ways of foraging. They will directly consume food (feeding) or they will cache food in haypiles to use for a food source in the winter (haying). The pika feeds throughout the year while haying is limited to the summer months. Since they do not hibernate, pikas have greater energy demands than other montane mammals. A female has two litters per year and these litters average three young each. Breeding takes place one month before the snow melts and gestation lasts approximately 30 days. Mothers forage most of the day and return to the nest once every two hours to nurse the young. Young become independent after four weeks, around the same time they are weaned. Pikas are vocal, using both calls and songs to communicate among themselves. A call is used to warn when a predator is lurking nearby, and a song is used during the breeding season.
Rocky Mountain N.P.