It's been a while since we've introduced you to a wildlife creature in our area. Since Bend and the Cascades Range are currently under a few feet of snow, it's only fitting that our featured animal is the king of winter: the American (Pine) Marten. A member of the weasel family, pine martens resemble a fox in the front and a fluffy brown tail in the back. That tail of their has long been of interest in the trapping community and has made them reach the list of sensitive species in Oregon.
These curious creatures spend their winter days (but mostly nights) hunting for smaller prey like shrews, mice, voles, and squirrels. You may catch a glimpse of their tracks during the day, but they're much more active in the evening. They also tend to travel under the snow. Their subnivean tunnels allow them to travel unseen by their prey. Some say they're viscous, but they're also adorable.
Best chance of spotting one in these parts: Deschutes National Forest. If you join us on one of our Moonlight Snowshoe Tours, you may have a chance of seeing one for a few seconds before they disappear in a tree or back underground. If you don't see one in real life, you can always check out the Pine Marten lift at Mt. Bachelor. The Pine Marten lift was the first express quad installed in the summer of 1986. It looks nothing like the animal, but at least now you'll know why it's named what it is.
Wishing you a wonderful week from all of us at Wanderlust Tours!