June 10, 2008

Fishers on the Move in New England--Why Not Colorado?

Two years ago I blogged about M.'s possible sighting of a fisher near our home.

Some of our wildlife-minded friends said it was possible, while others said there were no fishers here and that she must have seen a big pine marten.

But apparently fishers do get around. Today's New York Times describes them expanding their territory in the Northeast.

At the same time, the fisher’s ability to adapt quickly to non-native habitats astounds biologists, who see it as a conservation success. Population statistics are hard to come by, because the animal is difficult to spot and large-scale studies have not been done. But biologists say that counts of road kill as well as the fisher’s presence in new territories clearly indicate its expanding numbers.

OK, that's New England. But if it can expand its territory in one part of the country, why not another?


dr. hypercube said...

Interesting! I'd be curious as to how reliable road kill is as an indicator of fishers. I saw my first when we were living in Durham (was probably the grandpappy of the one pictured in the Times) 7 or 8 years ago. Since then I've seen another (up a tree hissing at the shorthairs) and trapped 2 in my back yard - I'm one town over from Durham now. I have yet to see a single one in the area dead on the roadside. I like M.'s chances having seen a fisher cat even if the incident was light on the requisite pro w/ grad students...

mdmnm said...

A few years ago up in the San Juans (at about 10k) I saw a huge fresh weasel-type track in the snow in early October. I thought maybe wolverine (in a sorta snowball in hell sort of chance) but it could have been a fisher. Nice clear track and way too big, with respect to foot size and distance between front and rear tracks, to be a pine marten. More fishers- cool!