Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Prodigal Son Returns

A little less than  a month ago I regaled you with the tale of some of our males that had traveled north to the Manton area. Well recently male 24315 (a male we released in late 2011) decided to come back down south for reasons unknown. I’ve included another map, but frankly it is difficult to convey very much in just one static frame. Nevertheless, if you look at it you can see all the dots where we estimate the fisher has been during the last 60 days. The redder the dot the more recent the location, and the greener the further in the past. So over the last 2 weeks this young male has reversed course – actually he plotted a new one – and is now located just to the north of Mill Creek.

I could spend lots of time pontificating on why he came back, but since I can’t even say why he made the journey in the first place I’ll leave the speculating to all of you. I’m still amazed, however, at the amount of country these guys can cover. On the 7th of April this guy was just to the west of Lassen Park, and by the 10th he was back to where he was released. As the crow flies that is “only” about 22 miles (36 kilometers), but over and across some large and deep canyons. The other important point is that it shows that these males that wander off are not lost or stuck. This animal, and others, travel long distances over short time periods often returning to their origin. Clearly, others can do the same and so when they decide to travel and stay somewhere they must have good reasons for doing so even if those reasons are not always clear to us. Finally, we would never document these types of trips without the Argos collars. I know I’ve probably said that before, but it is worth repeating. We would not see these types of movements were we tracking these males with standard VHF telemetry.

Hope this information is as interesting to all of you as it is to me.


Locations for male fisher 24315 during the last 60 days

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Den Update

As of today, we believe 9 of the female fishers which we are currently tracking have denned up.  These include all but one of the animals released in year two (5 of 6), and all but two from year three release (4 of 6).  During our trapping effort from last fall, we captured 5 juvenile females that were born on Stirling.  None of these appear to be denning yet, but this is not too surprising as they are all young (1 or 2 years old).

714C2 returning to den with prey.

It is still a little too early to say that there aren’t any more dens out there that we haven’t found.  Some of the fishers we are tracking are in remote areas, which we cannot get to as often as we would like.  Additionally, many times we get out and locate them, they are out foraging.

We are starting to get some more pictures back from the remote cameras we aimed at the dens.  Already we have documented males visiting many of the dens, females returning with prey items, and other species besides fishers at the dens.   Here are some recent pics:

Raccoon descending den tree of 21FB6.

Male at den tree of 182F4

21FB6 returning.

Natal den of 20058.



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The Secret Lives of Fishers

A couple of our remote cameras captured a rarely seen fisher behavior a few days ago.  Check it out:















They’re a little grainy, but the top two pictures show two fishers coming down the tree, while in the bottom two they appear to be mating at the base. These cameras were pointed at the suspected natal den tree of fisher 18871.  Many of our cameras at den trees have captured males coming and going, but to actually see them mating is pretty rare.



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