I have not seen one (they're pretty elusive), but I've been told by
several long-time residents of my area that there are fishers in the
patches of light young woods on the tops of the ridges here in the lower
Champlain Valley, and I'd be surprised if there weren't.
Some years ago, I had pointed out to me fisher tracks in the snow all
over a patch of conservation land in the inner Boston suburbs, and
individuals are sporadically seen in even small woodsy parks and
backyards that back onto conservation land there.
I was told by a naturalist that with the reforestation of farmland in
Eastern Mass over the last couple of decades, fishers have come roaring
back (along with Cooper's Hawks) in that area to the point where they're
thought to now be the most abundant mammalian predator in that part of
I can't speak to fishers personally, but certainly Cooper's hawks, which
inhabit pretty much the same kind of ecosystem, were an uncommon sight
when I started birding about 25 years or so ago, and had become common
suburban backyard visitors and even nesters by the time I left the area
6 years or so ago. (The count at Eastern hawkwatches has gone way up in
the last 20-some years, as well, but at least some of that is a result
of increased awareness of how to distinguish accipiter species in flight.)
It turns out that Fishers do not seem to need large tracts of deep and
isolated woods to thrive. There's been a number of reports in the
NYTimes recently by researchers studying these guys, who've found that
they're expert at creating large territories by traveling between
patches of woods and conservation land in suburban areas, going through
culverts under highways and the like to get from one to another.
On 12/18/2011 4:16 PM, Peterson, Bruce B. wrote:
> Long trip Saturday over back roads from Cornwall to Burlington. The
> news, I suppose, is the dearth of birds. Not one raptor (never
> happened on that route before in 50 years) Fewer than 15 tree
> sparrows. No other winter finches. Small flock of robins.
> Creek Road, Middlebury, not much better. Flock of about 10 robins.
> Maybe 10 tree sparrows, a dozen mourning doves. Only interesting
> action was a large flock of crows mobbing something at the junction
> of the Middlebury River and Otter Creek. Turned out to be a fisher
> (as in mustelid not sportsman), the only one Iíve ever seen down here
> in the valley. Has anyone else seem them outside of the mountains?
> Bruce Peterson
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