Think like a Pine Marten



Dr. Steve Buskirk’s article on Pine Marten had explained that in the winter Marten needed a chain of small shelters down under snow and some way to access them. They don’t hibernate but instead go from one shelter to another, hunting and resting up when heavy snow storms blocked their progress. This gives them a larger prey base, at a time of year when food is scarce. From my documentary prints, a prose poem:


For winter survival, marten require a series

documentary panel for "Marten Havens", photos & text on canvas

Of  lodgings consisting of small dry hollows

Covered with a snow dome for insulation and

an access tunnel down through the snow,

usually created

by a partly fallen tree to use as a ladder.

At least, that’s the way we perceive the marten’s

needs.  Who knows what the marten sees?

Marten are limited by these needs to old growth

forests.  Given an alternative denning structure,

will marten expand their range into younger

forests? Selectively timbered areas?


Usually their access into the snow is formed by an angled branch or log, which leaves a small tunnel on the underside. Then at the bottom of the tunnel marten need to find a bit of hollow log, a few piled rocks with spaces underneath, a large rock curving under at the bottom to create a “cave” or a pile of branches blocking snow. A fallen log, still tipped partly up, with a big root at the end is ideal. So I had to start thinking like a marten.

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