It’s been nearly 3 months since we found our first dens of 2015, and we’ve been busy continuing to try and track females and get pictures of kits. It hasn’t always been easy, and many of the females this year managed to move out of their natal dens unseen. However, our persistence has finally been paying off over the past few weeks. So far, we have confirmed a total of 19 kits from 11 denning females! This averages to 1.7 kits per female, which is on par with what we have found in previous years. Mostly we’ve seen fishers with either 1 or 2 kits, although we did confirm a 3-kit litter from one female.
It’s enjoyable to me to see how fast the kits are growing. In just the last couple of weeks we have started to see some of the kits climbing down trees on their own, and playing around outside of dens (with adult supervision). In some instances, the kits seem to be following mom to the new den instead of her carrying them. It also appears from the photos that the females are starting to bring back more prey items to the dens.
At this point, it is very difficult to pin new maternal dens down. The females are out foraging the majority of the day, and since the kits are becoming more mobile it is probably easier for her to pack up and move to a new home. There are still a couple of females from whom I think we have missed seeing a kit or two. We will continue to opportunistically walk in on everyone to try and get as accurate of count as possible before the juveniles dispersal in the fall.
Below is a slideshow of many of the kits we have confirmed thus far. I have tried to put them chronologically so you can get an idea of just how fast these fishers are growing up. The first picture is from April 3rd, and the latest from June 8th. Also, a camera from a log den found about a week ago captured hundreds of images of a female eating a squirrel while her kits were around! I put these into a slideshow you can watch HERE.