Yellowstone Reports

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Drama at the Cabin

by Dan Hartman

Nov. 17, 2019

     I was sitting in my easy chair editing this morning, when I heard the clattering of footsteps on our roof.  We're more than a month away from tiny reindeer, so I figured a marten had stopped by for a visit.  I got up to see if it was our resident male, but was taken back by what I saw.  Our younger male, that only comes by once a week or so, was clinging upside down with a squirming squirrel in his tiny jaws!

     I grabbed for the camera, but had way too much lens.  I switched lenses, then discovered the battery was being charged.  UGGHH!!

     The marten gave up on me about then and dropped to the ground.  In a flash he disappeared with his catch into our woodpile.

     Cindy and I donned boots and coats and rushed outside.  For the next few minutes the marten popped in and out of the stacked rounds, always without the squirrel, then suddenly he darted out the back carrying his catch.  Into the woods he bounded until he was gone.

     Fifteen minutes later, the marten was back, sitting on a stump like nothing had happened.  I wasn't surprised.  Martens seem to always cache their kills, then return sometimes days later to retrieve when they are hungry.

     Note:  This is only the fifth time we've actually seen a marten kill a squirrel and one of those was a flying squirrel.

     A kill is only made when the marten is a complete surprise.


View slide show

Marten Carries Away A Squirrel

Woodpile Marten

Marten Checks Out Our Ax

Marten / Squirrel