Saturday, March 18, 2017

Observing Fishers (Fisher Cats)

Note: These videos and photographs, recorded between March 7-9, 2016, capture a not-often seen sustained view of these mostly on-the-move creatures.

Video Below - Resting in Leaves:

Video Below - Sparring with (almost) hidden second fisher on other side of tree, complete with some screaming:

Video Below - One fisher retreats up the tree, to the great irritation of the crows:

Video Below - More climbing:

Sitting with Crows
Video Below - One fisher sits at base of tree and waits for hours having other fisher treed:

Video Below - Coming down:

Video Below:  Coming down a bit more when the coast is clear:

Napping on leaves - on back, legs in air.

Finally Leaving

"Fisher cat" is a complete misnomer.  The fisher does not fish, and it is a member of the weasel - not cat - family... Even though fishers are active both day and night throughout the year, one doesn't come across them all that often... Fishers are solitary animals, relatively shy and secretive...
Fishers have a long and tumultuous history in New England...  [T]hey were extirpated over most of the area due to overtrapping (their fur has always demanded a high price) and loss of habitat.  
[I]n the late 1950s... they were reintroduced in several states, including Vermont and Connecticut...   
- Mary Holland, Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and Month-By-Month Journey Through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England 


  1. I will make you fishers of men,
    Fishers of men, fishers of men.
    I will make you fishers of men,
    If you follow Me.

    (keeps playing in my head...)

  2. Hey, Thanks for the lesson of the day. I saw something run through the back last week. I couldn't figure out what it was. Your post prompted me to look Fisher Cats up. Never heard of them, nor have I seen one. And I guess there is a reason why. They are making their way down here given the reintroduction of Wild Turkeys a number of years back. I got a bit of a laugh as well. You would think it was close to the end of the world on the Darien Patch. Fisher Cats were native to the area and were over hunted due to their relative rarity. Got me thinking perhaps this is the tail of the fur on your g-grandmother's photo?

  3. A curiosity to us from the South, as an armadillo or nutria rat would be to someone from New England.....on our next trip to New England, we will be looking for one.

  4. You are a constant source of information and entertainment. I'd never heard of these darling creatures before. Thanks for your work.

  5. What do they sound like? Several years ago, while visiting friends at Squam Lake, we heard an unusual animal noise, over and over. They had a special book w/ animal sounds but none of them sounded like this particular creature. After we left, our hostess did some research and said it was a Fisher. The animal we heard that night sounded like a cat + large bird + whoknowswhat! Loved these videos. Thanks! Ann Z, metroDC

    1. Somewhat like a Banshee .

  6. From the sound of it, the Blue Jays and the Crows are not fans. I just played these for my husband, who grew up in those parts, but had never seen one. This was a very interesting post.

  7. I'm glad to see that someone knows they are just plain "Fishers" and the term Fisher Cat is a name given by locals to them because they kind of look like cats . They are like a miniature Wolverine and nothing to mess with . We've actually had them walk around our Vermont home looking for prey ,"the cats within " . Thanks for the post .

  8. Fisher "cats" are right up there with coyotes in my estimation. If you have a dog or cat you love, God forbid it should ever encounter a fisher cat. Their scream is chilling and terrifying. I have heard them, had friends who have seen them, but never seen one myself. The videos are amazing as I hear tell they are wary of humans. A quick check on You Tube confirmed my impression of them as vicious. I wouldn't classify them as "cute." I should think southern armadillos are "pussycats" by comparison.

    1. Living by a state park, our neighborhood first encountered Fisher Cats a number of years ago. I had never heard of them until one evening, sitting on our front porch, a neighbor and I saw one run across another neighbor's driveway. I have since learned that Fisher Cats have no predators and that they are not a friend to small domestic animals. Between the Fisher Cats and the Coyotes, I don't know which is more eerie sounding at night.

    2. Predators indeed! A friend was challenged (just shy of attacked) by one while fly fishing. He beat it off with his rod and now carries a pistol when fishing that particular stretch of stream.

      I know several farmers who have a healthy respect for them as well.

      I have only seen one and it was running at a fast pace across the road.

  9. And then there is the New Hampshire minor league baseball team named The Fishercats! LR

  10. Great video. Fishers have been blamed for the demise of many house cats in this area that are let out at night, never to return.