Hoary Marmots. Now you see them. Now you don’t. Did you hear them whistle?
Yes, marmots earned the nickname “whistlers” from the sounds they make. In Jasper National Park, Whistlers Mountain has whistlers (marmots) living on it. You may spot a few when taking the Jasper Tramway up to the top of the mountain.
The planet has 14 species of marmots (learn about all 14 on the UCLA marmot burrow). The type living in the Canadian Rockies are called “hoary marmots.”
According to the fact sheet here, hoary marmots make 4 kinds of whistling sounds: “ascending calls”, “descending calls”, “flat calls” and “trills”. The whistle sound might be different between the sound made for ground predators and aerial predators.
Play this video to hear a marmot whistling.
Finding Hoary Marmots on Jasper National Park
According to a hoary marmot species profile by Gustav Yaki, the place to find marmots in Alberta is in higher elevations. He says between 2,100-2,450 m (6,800-8,000 ft), usually above the treeline. He points out that marmots are vegetarians and may be eating grasses near their dens if they are not in the midst of their 8-month long hibernation.
Pictures of Hoary Marmots
Keep a look-out at high elevations. You may see a hoary marmot or two.