Remember how climate change was going to wipe out all the mountain Pikas? Never mind.

American pikas tolerate climate change better than expected

The American pika (Ochotona princeps), a relative of rabbits, occupies rocky environments in the mountains of western Northern America. It has been widely thought that pikas could not survive extremes of temperature and thus were at risk of running out of space at the tops of mountains as temperatures rise due to climate change. But is there more to the story?

Previously, when researchers visited pika habitat sites warmer or drier than usual in the Great Basin, where they had historically lived, they found that many of these sites no longer were occupied. It was thought that pikas had been forced to higher ground to escape the warming temperatures or had died, and it was concluded that pikas were in threat of extinction in the Great Basin due to climate change. However, these studies were focused on historic sites and did not examine the distribution of pikas at other marginal locations or in environments where they would more typically be expected to occur.

A new study, “Distribution, climatic relationships, and status of American pikas in the Great Basin, USA”, published in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, examined the largest set of records for occupied and extirpated (vacant) pika sites across a four-state region encompassing the entire Great Basin, and documented pikas inhabiting climates and territories never before reported.

The study found that pikas occur in conditions wetter and colder, as well as warmer and drier, than described from the prior limited sites. Pikas were found at elevations spanning 7,800 feet in elevation, from 5,350 feet to above 13,000 feet, and traversing 40 mountain ranges across California, Oregon, Nevada and Utah.

“This evidence provides an important new perspective on the status of pikas in the Great Basin,” said Connie Millar, a senior research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station and lead author of the study. “Pikas are persisting broadly across the region, and these findings give us reason to believe that the species is able to tolerate a wider set of habitat and climate conditions than previously understood.”

Millar and her colleagues gathered 2,387 records of occupied pika sites, 89 records of previously occupied sites that were later found vacant, and 774 records of sites that contain older signs of occupancy, but at which extirpation could not be confirmed. No consistent pattern could be detected in the elevations or climates of the confirmed and unconfirmed extirpated sites. Additionally, some areas of population loss were found close to other inhabited areas sharing similar climate.

“Climate conditions do not adequately explain locations of the extirpated and ‘old-sign’ sites,” Millar said, “suggesting that other factors interact with climate and contribute to the loss of pika populations in some environments.” Recognizing that non-climatic factors influence pika declines is important information that enriches our understanding of conditions that allow this species to persist and those that may contribute to local declines.


Link to journal article:

Jim Steele was right, of course:


82 thoughts on “Remember how climate change was going to wipe out all the mountain Pikas? Never mind.

    • not so. The pika was a case of the UC Davis ecology club finally finding a critter they could plausibly present as a real world victim of climate change in Sacramento.

      Just like with the polar bear, they jumped the gun asserting damages that nobody else could find.

      • My guess is that the Pika can live in almost any environment/climate. The live where they do, not because they are specifically adapted to that one restrictive area, but because if they lived elsewhere they would get their asses kicked.

    • I like to know when global warming is going to change the climate such that old farts don’t need to retire to Florida and Arizona.

      Instead of Hawaii, when should we expect folks to start planning to go to Minnesota for tropical vacations over Xmas.

      • Florida is one of a few states that has no state income tax so those states will always be attractive.

      • Good try Fred. There are some states north of those with no income tax, but the snow keeps people away. Nevada is one, and while a lot of folks flock to Las Vegas, the northern part of Nevada is still quite sparse. I hope it stays that way.

      • Only, if the people traveling to tropical Minnesota originate from north of the Arctic circle.

        Otherwise, the warmest part of this interglacial is past; perhaps the next interglacial?

      • If you want a “tropical” Christmas, come on over to Australia for the festive season. You can sit on a beach with a cold one (or two) and watch surfers in Santa suits being shadowed by sharks. Stay another week or so and check out the huge, outdoor New-Years Eve parties, preferably in a fresh Hawaiian shirt.

        Or, if that is too much of a change, visit out Kiwi cousins; put on your best shorts, that Hawaiian shirt and crampon boots, then go for a walk on a glacier, before heading a little further north and checking out some excellent wineries. Leave the spikey boots with the glacier folk, please.

        And don’t forget your sun-screen!

    • Mustn’t forget the global catastrophe of those Trumpian open-cast death mines and their death trains conveying the vomitus death carbon (of death).

      If only Hillary had her rightful (and righteous) place in Olympus they could then all be closed. What’s a little ex-miner poverty between friends? What would it matter at that point?……….

      Phew, glad I got that off my chest……

      • THAT must be why!!! In the vacated Pika locations, the head Pika must have banned some activity that put the piker Pikas out of jobs. So, they moved elsewhere.

    • More likely the spread of non-native species which is costing billions to control. The spread of non-native wipes out the native species.

      Example- Cheat grass has spread across the US wiping out drought resistant plants and causing more fires.

    • “Climate Change” (CAGW) has not proven to be real, so cannot be the cause of any destruction.

    • It is astonishing that some people eagerly wave their ignorati status around.

      A) You obviously did not read and understand the above article.
      B) The range cited for the pika; 5,350 feet to above 13,000 feet means that vast portions of the American west are home to pika.
      C) Researchers happening upon a briefly abandoned nest site have failed to identify exactly why that nest site is abandoned.
      – a) It could be because of predation
      – b) It could be because of disease
      – c) It could be because the resident pika lost their winter stores and starved.
      D) Anyone who has spent time clambering about the mountains quickly understands that it is impossible to just walk a trail and see every possible pika in residence. Indeed, even knowledgeable people that know exactly where a den site is located, may not find the pikas.

      Consider that Las Vegas is 2,000 feet (610 meters) in altitude. Almost every mountain nearby and throughout the various mountain ranges in California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, etc. will have pika populations in residence. Populations that span over 7,000 vertical feet (2,134 meters) over vast acreages.

      Also consider that animals living over such a huge altitude range throughout high desert can obviously thrive over an immense range of climatic conditions. Whereas, researchers have a very difficult time trying to prove any portion of a fraction of a degree temperature increases since the 1880s, is attributable to mankind. A fraction of a degree that the pika experiences simply moving uphill or downhill within feet.

      • The quote at the end demonstrates that this is not a scientist. They have chosen their faith and are now only looking for evidence to support it.
        That’s why they see an abandoned pika nest and say, “Look! The end is Nigh!”

        “Climate conditions do not adequately explain locations of the extirpated and ‘old-sign’ sites,” Millar said, “suggesting that other factors interact with climate and contribute to the loss of pika populations in some environments.”

        It suggests that other factors contribute to the loss of pika populations in some environments.
        There is no evidence that “other factors interact with climate and… ”
        They might do but the statement is unjustified.
        It’s a declaration of faith.

    • Here let me fix that for you: “climate change is really damaging the habitats of many living creatures, and, if it’s warming, really helping the habitats of many more living creatures for a huge net benefit in usable habitat for both wild creatures and humans”

    • Cute little buggers.

      “YUP”, the exact thought of hawks and eagles.

      How come no mention of those pika predators in the news release.

      Too many such predators could wipe-out a pica colony.

  1. They are loud and make an odd sound. The first time I heard a pika I was hiking alone in the mountains and it scared the heck out of me.

    • About as cute as any rodent. Pikas and marmots will eat the wiring insulation and gnaw at the rubber of any vehicle left unattended at a mountain trailhead.

  2. James Woods

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  3. Anthony, you really need to stop taking credit for these press releases. People think you write them, it happened on another thread. It’s plagiarism.

    [MODS] Please pass it on.

    • Thats the whole point of press releases, they are to be passed on with the writers full approval.

      • Lewis, yea having done numerous press releases that is the whole point of a press release. It is to get the news media to “spread the word” and call the public’s attention to some finding. If it is plagiarism then it could never go beyond the person’s desk that wrote it. Once out and about “in the public domain” you lose all control over how it is reported.

    • It’s plagiarism.

      Bullshit. There is a link right at the end of the article, and this is a news site that echoes the news. If somebody believes this is not a news article but an original content article, he/she has nobody else to blame but himself/herself.

    • Kristi,
      Someone (‘on another thread’) has a mistaken perception… and this makes Anthony a plagiarist, in your mind? This bit of irrational ad hominem prattle perfectly illustrates why people do not take you seriously.

      Me thinks some words of yours (‘from another thread’) ironically summarize your comment above:
      ” Such hypocrisy! Such lack of reason! Political drivel.”

      [MODS] Snip me again, if you must.

    • Miss Silber,

      “People think you write them …”

      What people?

      You need to quit making the assumption that everyone else functions at the same level of incompetence as you do.

      You are very different from the rest of the world, not that there is any thing wrong with that (… diversity and all that); and you need to recognize and acknowledge your differences (arrogance, incompetence, etc.) to turn your diverse nature a net positive.

    • Sometimes the stupidity is so bone-deep that it looks like sarcasm; sometimes the sarcasm is so good it looks like stupidity.

      I’m guessing this is a case of the former.

    • Jack Savage, your statement is offensive to my goldfish. I can assure you, their memory is much longer than the reputed 3 minutes some scientist has claimed.
      Mine took 3 or 4 weeks to relax their vigilance & not dash for cover at any movement after their tiny pond had been raided by a cormorant over several days. Half their number were eaten & I had to cover the pond for a couple of months to deter the feathered fiend.

    • WHAT……….You mean ALL of us put together………ONE goldfish !?

    • Goldfish have reasonably good memories and can remember a simple cognitive test for more than a year, between being tested. This was discovered by a high school teacher who used to a goldfish to explain some scientific research and how they could learn a simple task – the next year – the fish remembered.

  4. I have personally observed the COLLARD PIKA in the wild in Alaska. They are not simple to spot and do not make much noise. Over 2300 Pika sightings is a lot. And they are cool!

  5. It boggles the mind. Pika species have existed for millions of years. Who could imagine they could actually endure one degree Celsius environmental change?

    • “one degree Celsius environmental change?” indeed, and not even a change to their immediate environment, and not a change to their extreme highs or lows, but a global average change. Clearly bonkers.

  6. if theyre relatives of rabbits…then good luck getting rid of the little buggers!
    cold wet or extreme heat wont do it.
    wonder did they think some eagles and foxes or coyotes whatever lives around their areas might be well fed n breeding well thanks to Pika snackies?
    theres just no cure for extreme stupid is there;-/

  7. Could it be that they’re delicious to other criters, and thus suddenly ‘disappear’ often, for the greater good?

  8. There are a couple of aspects to climate alarmist thinking that I’m really fuzzy on, and I can’t find the answers on any of their usual outlets, just a lot of handwaving and divination. Primarily, relating to ‘extreme heat is killing off cute furry creatures’ – where does this extreme heat come from out of the claimed increase in global average? Granted, the OP relates to some backtracking in the case of the Pika, but this paper is swamped by hundreds more practically claiming measurable mass heat-related extinction (always conspicuously missing local temperature graphs of the habitat of the claimed affected population – though sometimes including projections / hindcasts of climate models).

    Lets say reliable measurement of a population like the striped mountain squirrel (or whatever) would have started in the 1950s, so there is some past data available for comparison. Current numbers of mountain squirrels are found to be significantly lower, and this is claimed to be the result of increasing temperatures. The squirrel and its food sources are used to daily / weekly temperature variability of several degrees Celsius and monthly / yearly swings an order of magnitude higher, and by virtue of the fact they are still around, can survive them just fine. So in order for the population to be alarmingly affected, there needs to be a significant increase in periods of extreme heat. Given the claimed increase in global temperatures since the 1950’s is around 0.5 degrees C, where does this extreme heat come from? Granted, it could be claimed that small temperature swings can affect the availability of a food source, but apart from being unconvincing, these kinds of papers usually seem to imply that the animal itself is unable to cope with the new extreme temperature of its habitat. In my 30 years observational experience of nature, 0.5 degrees isn’t enough to kill anything unless it is already living on the edge of what it can cope with. Given immediate pre-industrial temperatures are universally acknowledged to have been on the low side, this is not going to be the case for any long established population of animals or plants.

    The obvious answer is that this 0.5 degrees isn’t evenly distributed geographically or temporally. However surely this retort swings both ways? For a start (for the sake of simplicity ignoring other factors like heat content of water vapour and humidity) temperature swings at polar latitudes are far greater than those at temperate and tropical latitudes – wouldn’t these eat up a large portion of this average? Secondly, for over twenty years, alarming claims of global warming seem to have been made across the board. Winters are warming, the arctic is warming, the oceans are warming, spring in temperate regions is arriving earlier etc. I’m aware that the majority of warming actually observed has been in the temperate zones, in night time temperatures, in winter, and very little is claimed for the tropics, but certainly no cooling. Lets say this leaves 0.2C available elsewhere (and when). There have been no claims of unusually cold periods during summer months to balance out the claimed increase in extreme heat, so where are the population threatening increases in periods of extreme heat supposed to come from?

    This is a genuine question, maybe borne out of ignorance of the alarmist viewpoint. Is there some kind of weighting in the calculation of global average temperature that accounts for the increased temperature swings by latitude? Is it something to do with my misunderstanding of how anomalies work vs absolute temperatures? Can you pull higher regionally / temporally concentrated temperatures from an anomaly without bringing up the average?

    • No, you have the basics down, and the conundrum which seems so obvious when said out loud. The 2C warming “doom” line does not seem reasonable to have the effects people claim.

      Now, if doubling CO2 raised temperatures 4-5C for every doubling of concentration, I could see some nasty effects before we hit 1000 ppm. However, evidence goes against such a high sensitivity

      • Ben wrote:
        “Now, if doubling CO2 raised temperatures 4-5C for every doubling of concentration, I could see some nasty effects before we hit 1000 ppm. However, evidence goes against such a high sensitivity.”

        Further Ben, there is NO credible evidence that climate sensitivity is greater than about 1.0C to 1.5C/(2xCO2).

        Christy and McNider (1994 and 2017) calculated a TCS of 1.1C/(2xCO2) using satellite data from 1979 to mid-2017. They ASSUMED (for the sake of argument) that ALL observed warming was caused by increasing atmospheric CO2, after accounting for the known cooling impact of volcanoes.

        Therefore, this calculated 1.1C warming is an UPPER BOUND of climate sensitivity, and the probable value is less than 1.1C.

        Lewis and Curry (2018) calculated an upper bound TCR of 1.2C and an ECS of 1.5C, using surface temperature data for the period from 1869 to 2016.

        This low climate sensitivity suggests any manmade global warming will not be catastrophic – instead it will be mild and beneficial for humanity and the environment. Furthermore, atmospheric CO2 is not alarmingly high, it is alarmingly low in Earth’s history, and increasing CO2 from whatever source is hugely beneficial.

        My best guess is that TCS is even lower, probably between 0.0 to 0.5C/(2xCO2). Furthermore, I expect we will see global cooling starting soon due to low solar activity, because much of the observed warming in the late 20th Century was natural, not man-made, and natural global cooling is probably imminent due to the decline in solar activity in Solar Cycle 24 and 25. Global average temperatures will probably trend cooler, not warmer, for the next several/many decades.

        I hope to be wrong, because humanity and the environment suffer during cooling periods, but my predictive track record to date is infinitely better than the IPCC’s.

        Best, Allan

    • All reasonable questions. A fundamental ideology of green delusion is change is bad, when in fact change is the natural and unavoidable and relentless norm, although short lived humans hardly see any as sustained change in a particular long term direction is so slow. Fact is that the variation you describe is small and almost certainly and wholly within a natural range of short term noise, Far smaller than what that our short interglacial range has covered, up and down from today, from written historical accounts that are more meaningful than predictions of models or these partial and unsupportable green assertions, because those who recorded history before instruments simply documented what happened, not to try to prove some climate belief.

      Animals migrate and move seasonally all the time, perhaps they over exploit their habitats or feel like a change, or another species starts to share the resource. These little fellas, which may be the ones I once saw at Yosemite’s Glacier point?????, like Polar bears, are clearly mobile and comfortable in a range of climates , up and down from the fixed population studied. If you were a real scientist, and found a population had reduced or disappeared from a location, the first thing to do would be to look for it somewhere else, not declare extinction based on some fixed demography. Conclusion: These are not serious scientists as their study is fundamentay flawed by design (or as reported)..

      Just to make three points, very quickly.
      1. CORRELATION AND CAUSE: What globa temperature change there is does not correlate with CO2, over the industrialistion time scale we have measured, or the historical one before that using proxy indicators, Temperatures have also gone down while CO2 d goes up, and vu ice versa, and usually the CO2 change lags the temperature change so more likely an effect gtthan a cause. Because oceans emit CO2 as they are warned.

      2. SCALE: The forcing effect of CO2 is about 0.5% of water vapour if you believe the amplification effect of IPCC models, less than one 1 in 600 if you take the IPCC lower range, e,.g. no amplification by the O2 warming effect on water vapour, or even a reduction due to more clouds, etc. Any CO2 effect is smaller than the natural variation in water vapour’s dominant GH effect and nobody knows much more.

      3. CO2’s supposed direct IR absorption effect at 700nm wavelength also falls off logarithmically with concentration, so 20-40ppm has the same effect as 200-400pp. The band saturation effect. None of this suppports a tipping point, which is absolute bollocks on any serious scientific basis, hysterical nonsense that any rational scientist can destroy in 121 discussion in minutes on the evidence of natural data and proven physics.

      4. Any AGW effect from ACO2 is tiny and diminishing with concentration in the noise of the MUCH larger water vapour effect, if GHE is even as hypothesised and not simply a function of gravitational pressure on a mass of air .

      5. FOLLOW THE MONEY: Apart from all the research grants that require the academics to create predictive models that prove atmospheric CO2 is the dominant cause of this tiny change, rather than find the actual cause, the real agenda is the use of the assertions and the model’s results, that exceed any actual measurements in recorded fact, to justify the anti CO2 AKA big oil/coal/energy suppliers green politics and also justify a multi $Trillion climate change “renewab’e energy”.protection racket, justified and enforced by law as a solution it clearly is not in grid energy supply fact to reducing CO2 emissions and supply sustainability, on the hard facts of engineering.

      AS with the other climate rhetoric, the science reality is different. Why did we stop using sail? Only the wind is free, in fact weaker, much more impractical and expensive. Not even really renewable when including construction resources required to capture a useful amount, and requiring much greater resources to store it to be supplied the majority of the time when its dark and the wind isn’t blowing, etc.

      Renewables are woefully inadequate to replace fossil to deliver the energy we need, when needed, and require massively more expensive storage per KE Wh supplied without the fossil it relies on to fill the majority supply gaps. For most countries nuclear energy is the only energy source that is capable of powering a moder developed economy after fossil, also adequate, sustainable and affordable, with effectively inexhaustible fuel of which it uses a tiny amount per KWh. But the fact humans have learnt to harness the nuclear binding energy that naturally powers our sun in the few thousand years we have existed as hom sap, in one short interglacial between regular dominant ices ages, coming again soon, offends the wannabe Neanderthal green hunter gatherers, whose irrational pseudo science objects to industrial age technology they don’t understand or approve of, in fact any technological improvement mankind introduces to better adapt a small part of the natural environment to support our needs. The core of this is the idea we are somehow a stable permanent presence on a constant planet, instead of an ephemeral and VERY short lived species, whose even shorter lived civilisation has evolved in one short interglacial interval of a few thousand years, between 100,000 year ice ages tt have predominated throughout the xistence of homo erectus, , when Northern Europe, Russia and Canda are under a lot of ice most of the time and the oceans are at their normal level, 100 metres down at the the continental shelf edge, etc., all on the wholly disposable and short lived third rock from our rather average sun, in galactic terms.

      But that’s only the reality, versus belief/religion exploited for a fast buck by climate change priests and snake oil renewable energy salesmen exploiting the hard of science people and their politicians. Not IMO. Science fact versus science fiction.

    • Not serious scientists. Part of the shameful pseudo science industry we are made to pay for, that try to prove partial assertions and prove no laws. Simply a pointless burden of pseudo academia on society as a refuge from real world employment, that taxpayers probably paid for. No wonder they are so frantic when their limited grasp of reality is challenged. The real world is a harsh place to have to exist, cocooned in pointless academe paid for by the taxpayer is so much nicer.

    • If you want to get a handle on the range of variations try this. Really not a lot, up or down, all over the map., but 0.8 degrees globally since 1880, when measurements started at the level that is useful and comparable, – unless you are Michael Mann and the IPCC mafia , in which case they need adjusting to fit the hypotheses they were paid to [prove, and make it seem we are at the warmest part of the interglacial, it was CO2 what dun it, and the Minoan, Roman and Mediaeval warmings were all imaginary to the historians of the time, and the geological record. All untrue in science fact, on actual data record and the physics.

    • JJB MKI
      Well, interestingly, even the change in the global average is dominated by increases in Wintertime and nighttime temperatures. There is little to no evidence for increases in daytime, Summer highs which might stress Pikas or anything else. It is commonly accepted that the Arctic is warming faster than the global average, and I strongly suspect that warming varies in other regions as well. To make a convincing story, it needs to be demonstrated that the Pika environment is warming at least as fast as the average, if not faster. Instead, the alarmists only trot out the global average and assume that the average is representative of the Pika environment.

      You remarked, “spring in temperate regions is arriving earlier…” I think that it would be more accurate to say that that last killing frost in the Spring is not arriving as late as formerly.

      • Thanks Clyde, the extra information is appreciated. I remain baffled by how the climate cult can find existentially threatening hot spells in a 0.5C global average temperature increase over 70 years (which is as far back as I expect you can go to find reliable population data). Though I expect this explains the need to shift the media focus from ‘warming’ to ‘extremes’. My ‘late Springs’ comment was just highlighting the party line – personally I think Spring arrival time is down what weather systems happen to be dominating in any particular year and to try and eke out a trend from this is absurd. Even if the global average is representative of the Pika (or any other creature’s) environment, I still can’t see how such a small increase in the period over which these studies might have been conducted could represent any kind of a direct threat. I know the real answer is that it doesn’t and that the whole concept of a global average temperature is meaningless – I’m just not sure how authors of these kinds of studies can rationalise it to themselves.

      • Clyde,
        You say –
        “I think that it would be more accurate to say that that last killing frost in the Spring is not arriving as late as formerly.”
        Whilst I would, generally, agree, may I suggest that you qualify that, slightly – perhaps thus: –
        “I think that it would be more accurate to say that that last killing frost in the Spring is GENERALLY not arriving as late as formerly.” [My capitalised qualifier].

        We have just had frosts in parts of the UK – in late April – and we had temperatures of 27C [about 80F] is south London ten days ago [and about 3C [37 F] on Sunday and Monday mornings].

        I understand it is called weather.
        We in the UK get weather.
        If you don’t like it – no problem. Wait a few hours, and we can show you a couple more different seasons.


  9. Seriously, you have to question the intelligence of these people:

    “It has been widely thought that pikas could not survive extremes of temperature”

    Widely thought by whom? How can anything survive living in mountains if it cannot tolerate wide temperature swings?

    “Recognizing that non-climatic factors influence pika declines is important information”

    Why would anyone with more than one brain cell imagine that non-climatic factors have no influence?

    • One day I was hiking and happened to stop at Echo Lake, a small, mostly frozen mountain cirque in the shadow of the famous Longs Peak diamond.This is one of the coldest places in North America, at around 11,000 feet, I think. The picas were everywhere. Any animal that thrives in that environment can tolerate a little temperature change.

      Then these cute little bastards stole my trail mix. Took the whole bag down into their cold, rocky burrow. Imagine the calories they enjoyed with cashew nuts and dried pineapple and banana chips and raisins and sesame seeds and peanuts. As opposed to browsing on lichens and roots of mountain greenery. They must have thought they died and went to heaven. And then they started looking around for their next mark in a Gortex parka.

      Eat well, you cute little bastards. And don’t let Camille Parmisan and her ilk define you.

      • But, the pikas ate your nourishing trail mix of fruits and cereals and artificial sweeteners, grew too fat, got stuck in their cracks and burrows and rocky paths, then starved to death because of global warming, since you could not have climbed that high to feed them if the glacier had not retreated that far …..

  10. But Pikas are cute, and look good on fundraising appeals, so someone will certainly claim they are endangered.

  11. Animals move around, for instance many animals migrate. Animals abandon their burrows. link Why would anyone expect pika nesting sites to be occupied in perpetuity?

  12. I have a hypothesis that comes from having lived in SF for many years and range of other places. Namely, the bastions of greatest concern about ‘climate change’ are places with fairly narrow temperature ranges–such as San Francisco. The locals are terrified–terrified, I tell you–of any deviations from their usual roughly 18 degree range of existence (from about 52F to around 70F–again, roughly). They cannot comprehend the survival of human life in places like Sacramento (where I live now) with a common 40 degree plus temperature swing (greater over the year) and where (gasp!) it exceeds 100F. And they simply deny any existence of life (even microbial) in most of the US where the annual temperature range may exceed 110 degrees (such as where I grew up in Wisconsin). Additionally, their particular urban existence negates ANY understanding of the abilities of Nature to adapt. Tell these folks that they won’t be able to dress like a hipster anymore and they might contemplate suicide. SO–The thought of a cute, furry little animal being tougher than they are is simply beyond the pale. (This is in good fun…but may have a vein of truth to it…) ;-)

    • Those who live in large urban areas often have no clue how the natural world works.

  13. Back in the early 1990s environmentalists and the Game and Fish Commission in Florida wanted to list white ibis as a threatened or endangered species. We were in the middle of a drought. A little regular fluctuation in our climate that happens every 11 years plus or minus a couple. About every third is severe. Biologists were surveying “traditional” white ibis habitat and feeding areas. Of course the white ibis were elsewhere since those areas were dry. The battle made it to the Legislature and the commission and environmentalists were winning until farmers showed up with dated pictures showing hundreds of white ibis feeding in and around irrigated groves and farms.

    • Interesting anecdote. And ironic that the scourge of so many environmental activists — mankind — was responsible for facilitating the ibis’ survival. Because without the refuge provided by irrigated groves and farms, the drought would have affected them more severely.

      • Nick, the Winter Bird Survey one year was shocked to discover a brown pelican rookery was gone. The island was still there but no pelicans. What had happened? The rookery was across the estuary from several large commercial fish houses where historical from fall through spring tens of thousands of pounds of fish were handled, e.g., nets picked, shovel fulls missing the ice on the dock, discards, etc. Several of the fish houses closed in a matter of a couple of years. The fisheries supporting all the fish houses became heavily regulated. And the Colombians vertically integrated the illicit drug business, the industry went from 80 net boats to 12 in less than a year. Of course what had happened the pelicans loved a free meal and spent most of their time feeding in and around the docks. Once gone, well——–Audubon and others didn’t want to hear about what really had happened. The blamed a lot of other things that were even in the game. I am sure if it happened today, it would be AGW.

    • Just passed a small white ibis flock probing a front yard lawn, have to be careful, they cross the street without looking. There is a report of European oystercatchers eating earthworms. Easier than opening oysters.

  14. Another supposedly-cute poster animal, but again, one that is just plain annoying. OK, polar bears DO command respect.

  15. But can they adapt to mega cities like when Denver reaches 20 million population or traffic jams in the mountains?

  16. Here’s a real world example of cute, furry animals surviving climate change. The arctic ground squirrel (colloquially: sik-sik) is another photogenic little creature, a fairly close relative of the better-known prairie dog that lives in more temperate regions. The entire habitat range of sik-siks is mainland Canada, north of about 59°, although it now appears that they inhabit a bit of northeastern Siberia too.

    So how did these creatures survive when almost their entire habitat was under 2,000 to 3,000 metres of ice, only 20,000 years ago? Silly question; they just migrated south when the ice came and north when it went away. How difficult can it be for a modern, university-educated ecologist to grasp those simple and self-evident truths?

    It almost seems that a fundamental precept of the science of ecology, as it’s now practiced, is that everything was static and unchanging until humans came along and f*****ed it all up.

    Same goes for all the other arctic fauna, hares, foxes, caribou, muskox etc. etc. ad nauseam. And the arctic flora too. Anyone who has looked at the tree line and not perceived it as a dynamic boundary needs to learn some earth history.

    • @Smart Rock: Bingo. But few if any mainstream journalists have even the tiniest inclination to do the most basic research into Earth’s history. CNN’s John Sutter is one of the most guilty…as is most of the staff at TWC (w/the notable exception of Ari S.)

  17. The pika discussion is something we should make sure we are familiar with. It is a carefully crafted propaganda piece and it is being woven into their interpretive programs to exert influence on children and the poorly informed. The National Park Service has brought it into their interpretive motif and it essentially concludes that pikas need cool conditions and there is a relationship between the survival of pikas and the dreaded global warming caused by humans. To wit, and this is a quote at the visitor center at Craters of The Moon National Monument; “Listen for the eeep! ” “Like many of the creatures at Craters of the Moon, these ‘rock rabbits’ depend upon the cool shelter of cracks and crevices in the lava rock for protection from heat and predators. Scientists are monitoring pikas within the monument to determine if climate change impacts their distribution and population.” This statement was then followed by a very bold assertion: “Humans: Cause & Solution : Limiting Climate Change is not beyond our control.”

    Do we do nothing? Or, do we get motivated and challenge this crap. My guess is that a letter to the Department of the Interior, or the Craters of the Moon National Monument manager will draw a “Ren and Stimpy Blink”. The narrative is so insidious that it dominates a huge amount of interpretive texts from the National Wildlife Refuges to the National Park Service Visitation Centers.

  18. Sounds like Camille Parmesan and the checkerspot butterflies all over again. WUWT story here and Jim Steele gets it right again.

  19. They discovered that rodents don’t always stay in the same place?

    Dang. And I thought putting up pictures of flood-wash like it was normal sea flotsam was bad.

  20. I’ve seen pika in the Maroon Bells area (1960, at the old Maroon Bells Lake campground – which is no longer there). So Colorado is part of their range too.

    • Sure it is. They are very common in Rocky Mountain National Park. And most other mountain ranges in Colorado.

  21. Actually one would expect the number of pika populations to decrease during each interglacial. During glaciations they have a broad continuous distribution. They have even been found in the Appalachians.
    During interglacials they get split up into many relatively small isolated areas. Some of those populations will inevitably become extinct through purely random fluctuations.
    If desirable they could very likely be re-introduced in most of those abandoned sites.

  22. Alarmist statement. Disproved over the next ten to twenty years. After the propaganda has it’s intended effect, of course.
    And how many alarmist statements, still waiting in the wings?

    • It is a well known fact that starving polar bears pushed out of the ever-shrinking arctic have migrated to mountain-tops and evolved into pika. There are a couple of details missing from this analysis, but that’s the way climate science works.

  23. I knew they’d be fine. They live were people don’t! I’ve seen one and only one when fishing in the mountains of Wyoming. Being secretive is in their favor, as with wolverines.

  24. Abandoned sites are most likely a result of them being eaten. I live in an area dominated by birds of prey and Coyotes. 19 years ago the first nesting pair of Eagles stayed year round. They are almost as common as crows now in this valley. I get excited when I see a squirrel because they don’t stand a chance and are rare to see from my home. They are prolific elsewhere is this region. The rabbit population has drastically declined as well. Counting the number of Pika predators should have been the first thing looked at to understand why nests were abandoned in certain areas.

    • The pikas should then look for subsidies to build a windfarm to kill the eagles.

      Or we could start a go fund me campaign …

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