Posts Tagged With: reconyx

Dens!

It’s hard to believe that 2013 marks the 4th year that we’ve had fishers on the Stirling district denning and giving birth!  Over the last couple of weeks we have been busy trying to locate dens.  As of today, I am happy to report we have confirmed that 9 of the females we are tracking have settled into behavior consistent with denning (using the same tree over multiple days).  So far we have located dens from 4 of the year-2 translocates, 2 from year-3 translocates, and 3 from fishers that were born on Stirling.  We found the first den this year on March 18th, the earliest recorded over the 4 years!

As Colin pointed out a few weeks back, this year marks the first time that we are able to document fishers that were born on Stirling giving birth to kits of their own.  It is very encouraging to find 3 of these individuals in dens!  We are hoping that within the next week, we will have a fairly complete picture of denning throughout the district (well, those we are tracking).  There are still a couple of fishers that seem to have not settled yet, or that we haven’t been able to get to.

As we are starting to collect pictures from the remote cameras, we have been seeing a lot of males visiting the dens.  In fact, we have documented males at each of the 7 dens that we have retrieved pictures from, with many having multiple males visiting!  Included in these are a few males which have no collar, or collars without any transmitter.  We definitely missed a few during the fall trapping!

I’ve included a slideshow with some of the more interesting photos we have collected so far.  Hopefully it won’t be too long now before we start seeing some kits!

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To Den Or Not To Den?

That is the question. That time of year is rapidly approaching once again, expectant mothers on and around Stirling will soon have to pick their spot and settle down to the task of raising kits. The den season, particularly the early rush to pinpoint natal dens (those in which a female gives birth as opposed to the maternal dens she will use later in the season) is one of our busiest periods on the ground and from a personal perspective, one of the more rewarding.

This will be the fourth season in which Fishers have denned on Stirling since the reintroduction began and again it offers some potential milestones for the project. We have already seen the birth of the first kits sired on the district, the one to watch out for this season is the potential to confirm the first litters born to females native to the district. Although it is very possible that this happened last year we were not actively tracking any females born on Stirling who were potentially reproductive during the 2012 den season. Currently we are tracking 4 such animals and barring any mishaps we expect to locate natal dens for each of them should they give birth this season.

From the table below you can see that this year we are tracking 11 females which we believe could reproduce. Besides the 4 animals mentioned previously we have 5 year 2 translocates, all of which have produced kits previously and 2 year 3 translocates, only one of which has reproduced before.

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Females with the potential to reproduce in 2013

As a point of comparison, ahead of the 2012 season we were tracking 10 potentially reproductive females, consisting of a spread of year 2 and year 3 translocates. Ultimately we confirmed natal dens for each one of these animals.

There is also a slight possibility that some of the 4 females we caught in the fall of 2012 and deemed to have been born that spring were actually born in 2011 and would therefore be able to reproduce this year. So, although we think this unlikely we will have to keep a close eye on what these animals are doing to be sure we don’t miss anything.

Doubtless you will see more from us as we start confirming dens and setting remote cameras. Over the first 3 years we have seen the den season really start to kickoff in late March with our median date of den confirmation (this date can sometimes be a day or 2 later than the kits actual date of birth) being March 30th. The majority of dens are generally found within a week or so around this date although our data shows a spread of about a month for the population as a whole. Our earliest record thus far is March 17th, only 1 week away!

Here is something you’ve seen before to whet your appetites.

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Hopefully new pictures will follow in the next month!

-CAB-

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Kits!

We recently got confirmation of the first kits of 2012, as a couple of female fishers moved their dens!  Although we suspect that nine of the females we are tracking have denned and had kits, it’s nice to get some actual photos of them.

93B5A’s kit.

The first of the year belonged to female 93B5A, who was released in the fall of 2010.  This is exciting because even though she did appear to den last year, we never got any pictures of her kits.  The picture was taken only two weeks after we found her den, and as you can see the kit is pretty small.

The most recent picture of a kit came from fisher 20058, an animal that was released last fall.  This kit appears to be larger, which isn’t surprising as it was moved six weeks after we first suspected she had denned.  It is interesting to see how fast the kits are growing at this stage.

We only captured one kit on camera for each female, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising to learn that they have more.  Although the cameras we use are pretty good, fishers have a habit of getting around without triggering them.  In the case of 93B5A, she returned to the den tree shortly after moving one kit, but the camera didn’t detect her coming back down again.

 

20058’s kit, another view.

20058’s kit.

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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.

 

Kevin

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Red-tailed Peril

To add to my previous post I thought I’d share one of the more impressive series of images from a den thus far;

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We believe the Red-tailed Hawk you can see entering and exiting the upper left of frame in this series was attempting to steal the prey item being carried by female 199B9 (center frame) to her natal den in April 2011. Whatever the reason, she survived unscathed and went on to occupy 2 maternal dens through the 2011 season before her VHF transmitter finally failed.

-CAB-

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The Great Kit Debate

In a somewhat desperate bid to up my posting rate I’m going to revisit old ground in this post and return to a brief email debate from last April.

And so a brief background is in order…

As we build up to this years denning season we have begun the task of collating and analyzing our camera data from the first two denning seasons on Stirling. As many of you may know the season really begins to heat up in early April as we confirm natal dens (a natal den is the den in which a female gives birth to her kits) by performing walk-ins on stationary females. It is usually on the second walk-in to a given tree that we consider the female has indeed denned. At this point we set a series of remote cameras around the den structure in order to passively monitor the females activities. Through the denning season a female Fisher will usually progress from her natal den through a number of maternal dens (a maternal den being any den occupied after the natal den). Thus one of the most exciting things we see on our cameras is the female carrying her kits out of the den, this gives us a great opportunity to count the number of kits.

So here the debate arises. While going through our pictures of female 17582’s natal den from the 2011 season I came across some familiar images, the first image is of 17582 moving her first kit from the natal den to her first maternal den roughly 100 yards away. Nothing too contentious there.

The picture below was taken 20 minutes later and appears to show her moving a second kit, or potentially a second and third kit at the same time, as the wily Roger Powell contended.

And here is the same image expanded;

So I ask your opinion,

-CAB-

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Creatures of the night

With the belated and thus far underwhelming winter storms making an appearance recently a few of us have found ourselves with time on our hands away from the field. In light of this situation the ever industrious Aaron has, among other assignments, set us to work organizing a digitalized mountain of trail camera pictures.

As a (more?) naïve youth I used to quite enjoy going through these pictures, then I came to work in bear country…needless to say, the novelty has worn a little thin. For the uninitiated; it is a favorite pastime of black bears to find, wander around in front of and then try to eat trail cameras, this can become a little tedious to watch the 10th or 100th time you see it. Nonetheless, we do get to see some of the more reclusive local residents going about their business too.

I thought I’d share a few recent favorites to add a little color…then I realized they were all night shots.

Enjoy!

-CAB-

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