This summer we participated in a “citizen science” project that has us report any signs of Pikas we came across while hiking.
To get started, we attended a training session at Point Defiance Zoo earlier this year, to ensure we wouldn’t confuse pikas with squirrels or other small mammals, and to learn how to identify pikas from their calls or scat.
The observations were reported through an Android app. Each report includes not just the place and time of the observation, but also the number of animals, whether we saw or only heard them etc. The app was a bit tedious (and buggy), wish they had chosen iNaturalist instead.
The observation data is publicly available at CitSci.org. So far we contributed 5 observations, hoping to get a few more before winter!
There’s also a fun Facebook group where people share pictures.