The American marten is weasel-like with a long body and pointy face. The legs are short; the toes, including the pads, are completely furred; and the nails are semiretractile. The tail is bushy and long. The pelage in winter is luxuriant, with a dense underfur and sparse covering of guard hairs. The color varies, but usually is a golden brown shading to dark brown on the feet and tail; the head is lighter. The throat and chest are splotched with orange or yellow. A small dark stripe extends upward from the medial corner of each eye, giving the appearance of a vertical eyebrow.
In Oregon, the marten occurs in the Blue and Wallowa mountains, in the Cascade Range, and to a limited extent in the Coast Range. It seems to be absent from the northern Coast Range, the Columbia Basin, the southeastern high desert, and the Willamette Valley. It is a forest species capable of tolerating a variety of habitat types if food and cover are adequate.
Martens are active year-round, although they may remain in their dens for a day or two during inclement weather. They commonly use elevated perches from which to pounce on terrestrial prey; they also may follow tracks of prey in snow, excavate burrows, enlarge openings to tree dens, and rob bird nests. Martens cache prey or parts thereof and return to consume them later, sometimes within minutes or after a day or so at other times.
The American marten is an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species in these ecoregions: Blue Mountains, Coast Range, East Cascades, Klamath Mountains, and West Cascades.
Photo from ODFW