Postcard: Ptarmigan on a Fourteener

You have to wonder if the ptarmigan knows how cool of an animal it is. To turn snow white when you need to hide in snow for seven months of winter is not just a sign of evolution but also a boon to the rest of us. I like seeing a ptarmigan on my ski tour. I’ve seen up to nine at a time scurrying around on the side of a mountain, almost invisible but for their eyes and beaks. This dude or dudette was hanging out next to an abandoned gold mine on 14,265-foot Quandary Peak yesterday. Did he mind if I took his photo to put it on the Internet? I guess I’ll never know.

Photo by Devon O'Neil
Photo by Devon O’Neil

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