Fern Has Denned – UPDATE October 22, 2013
On Monday (October 14), 1¾-year-old Fern was 0.4 miles away. On Wednesday, October 16, she was in the general area. Today, Mike Johnson and Lorie Kennedy found her in a freshly dug den with plenty of bedding raked in. What was the bedding? Ferns, of course!
Mike and Lorie snapped a couple pictures and left. Fern briefly lifted her head without concern and stayed snuggled in her deep bed of ferns—the first den she has made on her own. She trusts Mike and Lorie.
To dig the den, Fern took advantage of the same sandy area where she was born in January 2012. The den is only a quarter mile from her birthplace.
With most of the leaves down and snow (melting) on the ground, the remaining color is mainly the light gold of tamaracks.
An 8-pound male fisher (Martes pennanti) visited us and even looked in a window—a first. It was the first fisher we’ve seen in months, maybe a year. We don’t know where these timid but cautiously tame animals get their ferocious reputation. We can imagine if one is caught in a leg-hold jaw trap and the trapper is approaching, a scared fisher could lash out. Trapping eliminated fishers from the southern and eastern part of their northern forest range in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Since then, fishers have been reintroduced into many of those same areas to help control porcupines that became numerous and damaged forests in the absence of fishers. Fishers look a little like wolverines, which also have fierce reputations, but we’ve seen nothing to make us fear fishers. All we’ve ever seen in their eyes was caution and curiosity.
With the choicest green foods disappearing in the woods, the grass at the Research Center is a hit with deer. Roadside grasses are attracting flocks of migrating snow buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) that flutter up to grab the seed-heads.
We see how you are helping every day. Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center.
All photos taken today unless otherwise noted.