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American Marten

American Marten
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-06-11
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-07-28 17:41
Viewed: 3276
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I have only seen these American Martens a handful of times, but finally I got my first images of one. This cooperative fellow was captured in Banff National Park and if anyone would have seen me they would have thought me daft the way I was trying to keep up with him as he moved through the trees from branch to branch.

American Marten
Martes americana

General Description

By Gustave J. Yaki

The American Marten is a mink-sized member of the Weasel Family which spends much of its time in trees. They formerly ranged across North America, throughout the boreal forest, from Alaska to Newfoundland and southward into the western mountains to Oregon and Colorado. In Canada, they were absent only from the treeless prairies and tundra. Today they are gone from much of their original southern range across this country, existing only in pockets of mature forest, because of habitat destruction and over-trapping.

Average measurements of an adult male is: length, 600 mm (24 in), of which the long bushy tail measures 175 mm (7 in). Weight is 1000 g (2.2 lb). Males are about 15 per cent larger than the females.

The outer fur of this fox-faced mammal is extremely variable in colour, ranging from a dark brown -- almost black to a pale buff. The dense and soft underfur is tan-coloured. Often there is an irregular creamy or orange-coloured breast spot(s). Their legs and tail are usually dark. Martens, which are active all year, are primarily nocturnal, from dusk to dawn, but may also be seen abroad on cloudy days, particularly in the late afternoon. They have a wide range of tastes. Small rodents, particularly Red-backed Voles, are their main food item, comprising up to 66 per cent of their diet in one study. Red Squirrels and flying squirrels are also important food items (10 per cent). When abundant, Snowshoe Hares may account for 40 per cent of the diet. Grouse and smaller birds constituted 12 per cent in a northern B. C. study. Carrion (deer and elk) is readily eaten when available. Insects, particularly beetles, bugs and wasp form about five per cent of their food intake.

Like all carnivores, they also consume vegetable matter, particularly fruit in season. This includes blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and wild cherries. They have been seen taking apples from a picnic hamper. They readily come to bird feeding stations, particularly at isolated cabins, probably attracted by suet, but eating seeds and other items when the suet is not available.

Martens are primarily solitary animals, the males, which are polygamous, are particularly pugnacious. The sexes come together only to mate in mid-summer. After the eggs are fertilized, development is arrested for seven to eight months until implantation occurs in late February or early March. Twenty-eight days after this occurs, the female gives birth to one to four blind, deaf, helpless young. This happens in a leaf-lined nests in a hollow tree, or in a cavity amongst rocks. The infants are almost naked, covered only with a thin yellow coat. They moult into a dark brown subadult coat at the end of their third week. Their ears open at 26 days and their eyes at 39 days. They start to crawl when about 46 days of age and are fully weaned at six weeks of age. They learn quickly, becoming fully independent when only three months old. When 15 to 17 months of age, they reach sexually maturity, but most females usually do not produce their first litter until near their third birthday.
from Wesaelhead.org

aruntp, Pitoncle, bungbing, PaulLees has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

wonderful species. great angle. good wild life photography. wonderful lighting and color rendering. good work. tfs.

Bonjour Rick,
Le cadrage me parait un peu trop large et pourrait-être réduit à la branche floue de gauche sans dénaturer la remarquable présentation et valorisation du sujet dans son environnement.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Hello Rick,
Very lovely animal, I have never seen before, great captured with lovely eye-contact, nice details sharpness and he looks so cute looking at you from the tree!
Thanks for sharing and have a nice weekend,
Best Regards,

Hi Rick,

What a little cutey here my friend, great capture of this active fella, nice and sharp with good clarity, love the pose with splendid eye contact, fabulous picture here Rick and well done,
Best regards,


PS Brilliant note!.

Wonderful shot Rich. Nicely framed with nice enviroment. Trevor

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2011-08-03 19:13]

Hello Rick,
What an awesome shot of this elusive little critter. The composition couldn't have been any better as he poses so nicely for you.
I can envision you now trying to get into position for such an incredible shot. The detail is exceptional and the colors are simply gorgeous.
I would love to get a shot of a marten like this, I can imagine you were quite pleased with the outcome. Great work!!!

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