I told you’d see more of this cute little fellow! During my second trip on the Hidden Lake Trail (Logan Pass, Glacier NP), I had to stop to watch this little guy, stuffing his mouth to astronomical proportions with nesting material. Summer in Glacier NP is very short and, with snow still on the ground in some places, the Columbian Ground Squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus) are busy collecting materials to make their nest … not much time to procreate and raise a family! These squirrels collect dried “hay-like” material, haul it back to their burrow, and prepare nests that are sometimes referred to as “haystacks”.
There were several of these little guys running around collecting material, but I watched this one little guy as he would scurry about and stuff his mouth with material. Once full, off he would scamper. Then, 3-4 minutes later, he would return and repeat this activity. I must have watched him perform this cycle at least 8-10 times! It was so mesmerizing :o)
Here are a few of the images I made of this little guy:
And one close-up, as he came right up to where I was crouched down:
Cute little guys, and what fun to watch!