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Fishers Climbing Trees

12-19-16-fisher-tracks-up-tree-049a2363If you look at the tree in the center of the photograph, you may be able to detect paired tracks in the snow along the length of its trunk.  As luck would have it, a fisher chose to ascend the one tree with snow still clinging to its trunk. Fishers are members of the weasel family and are well known for their ability to climb trees.  They do so in order to reach den sites as well as to catch prey. Fishers’ arboreal adaptations include semi-retractable claws and ankle joints that rotate so that they can descend trees head-first. Smaller females appear to be more adept in the trees than the larger males.

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7 responses

  1. janetpesaturo

    Great find, Mary!

    December 19, 2016 at 7:48 am

  2. Deborah Pasho

    Hi Mary, I have a question about raptors. I’ll start with a little background first: for the past month we’ve had a Barred owl hanging around our house. It had a favorite perch in our yard and it would watch the children and I as we ran to different windows to get better views of it. It even flew down and landed right below our dining room window to look at us and then fly back to its perch. I would see it often on my early morning walks. Last Tuesday we found it dead at the end of our little dirt road that meets the Hartland-Quechee Rd. I assume it was hit by a car though upon exam (I’m a retired veterinarian) I couldn’t find any breaks or massive trauma. We were very sad. The strange thing is in that same day I saw 4 more dead raptors of some sort on 91 south and North that hadn’t been there the day before. This weekend I saw one more on Rt 5 to Windsor. Do you have any idea as to why they are suddenly getting hit by cars? Why they’re flying low around roads?

    Thank you for your insights.

    P.S. Happily we saw another Barred owl in our yard yesterday. It has darker abdominal feathers and sat on different perches in the yard. My kids, and I, were happy to have a new raptor “friend”!

    Debby Pasho

    P.P.S. My boys and I met you two years ago on a spring morning at Dewey Pond in Quechee. You had your dog with you and we pointed out a Baltimore Oriole that you could hear but couldn’t find. Anyway, we all love your posts and your books.

    December 19, 2016 at 8:22 am

  3. Deborah Pasho

    I forgot, here are some pictures of the owl that has since died. Sorry that are poor quality – I was using my phone.

    Also, I have the owl carcass in a bag in my garage if you want to examine it. As a vet I couldn’t help use it as a teaching experience for my boys. I showed them how the feathers of owls are serrated and make them fly silently. The way their feet open and close upon extending and retracting the legs and how it’s ears are placed asymmetrically so they can triangulate in on sounds. It was fresh then and still movable, while rigamortis and freezing temperatures have since set in. My husband was traveling so the boys wanted to save it to show their dad. But you’re welcome to it if it helps you. [image3.JPG] [image2.JPG] [image1.JPG]

    December 19, 2016 at 8:32 am

  4. What an interesting owl story – I’ll be curious about your response. But on to my question: can you describe what sort of den a fisher would be accessing in a tree? Thanks! – Dell

    December 19, 2016 at 8:47 am

  5. How can you tell this is not from a martin?

    December 20, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    • Excellent question. Although there are martens in Vermont, they are endangered, and the few we have tend to be in the northern half of the state, although they have been seen in southeastern Vermont. In addition, martens are much smaller than fishers (a fisher can weigh 10 times the weight of a marten), and their tracks are considerably smaller than fishers’.

      December 20, 2016 at 3:38 pm

  6. What an exciting find! Thank you for your wonderful posts, as always.

    December 22, 2016 at 6:32 am

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