This paper concerns the food of the pine marten Marles martes in the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, West Ross-shire, between 1956 and 1958. The technique of studying food from droppings and the need for correction factors are discussed. The study is based on 337 droppings.
The food eaten was varied both in size and nature but small rodents and small birds formed the bulk of the food at all times of the year. Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, carrion, fish and berries were eaten seasonally. Small prey appeared to be preferred. Ninety per cent of the small rodents eaten were short-tailed voles Microtus agrestis despite the fact that bank voles Clethrionomys glareolus and woodmice Apodemus sylvaticus were probably more abundant and the martens' activity rhythm brought them into contact with all three species.