Pika Monitoring Training

Pika Monitoring Training

For hikers, scramblers and climbers who are interested in contributing simple citizen science to help monitor Pikas, a climate indicator species
Info
COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers event.

Peaking for Pikas

(please rsvp)

If you're a hiker, scrambler or climber in the PNW, then you likely spend your summers crossing talus slopes listening to and hoping to catch a glimpse of  one of these adorable little furballs. Starting this year, you can use that hobby to contribute to an important monitoring project with almost no effort. The Mountaineers is partnering with the Point Defiance Zoo to collect baseline data on pika, a species that has already disappeared from some regions of our country. 

pika image

The need: A whole bunch of crowd-sourced data. 

The zoo, in partnership with the Oregon Zoo, is striving to have accurate baseline data on how many pikas are out there now, so that we can track their growth or decline in future years. Pikas are a climate indicator species, so not only does this help us protect these little munchkins from extinction, but it helps our scientists track the effects of climate change.

Your job as a  volunteer

During your wilderness travels, keep an eye out for signs of pika. Could be sightings, hearing their call, or witnessing other evidence of their presence. When you find evidence of a pika, pull out your phone, open the app, and document that experience. Simple as that!

Your impact is bigger than you think

In the past 2 years, this project has recorded 157 cumulative sightings. As Mountaineers, we're in pika habitat ALL. THE. TIME. In fact, last year on an average summer weekend, we had 30(!) hiking, scrambling and climbing trips, almost all of which went into pika territory. We have more than 300 trips a year that visit pika habitat, potentially adding 300 sightings!. This partnership is a critical way that our members can, with very little effort, contribute in a major way to a very important project.

 How do i get started?

  1. Attend this 2-hour training (pizza provided!)
  2. Download the citsci.org app
  3. Get out there and find some pikas! (kind of like Pokemon with a purpose... if you're into that sort of thing)

a word From the Zoo

Peaking for Pikas is a subset of the Oregon Zoo’s Cascades Pika Watch program. The project opens the world of the American Pika to volunteers as they hike in the Cascade Mountains to document these potato sized rock rabbits. When volunteers come across a pika or signs of a pika they are asked to collect location data, how many animals they detected, and basic conditions of the site (weather). This data is then submitted to citsci.org and compiled to create a baseline of the American Pikas distribution in the Cascade Mountains.

Purpose: The American Pika is a species that is sensitive to high temperatures making them susceptible to the effects of climate change. This species ranges within the mountains of western North America and are adapted to living on and in talus fields (rock slides). Given their specific habitat needs they are limited to where they can be displaced to avoid a warming planet. Cascades Pika Watch aims to create a baseline distribution of the American Pika in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon to then monitor for change over time.