Animal Attraction

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 26 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

Another Monday has come with no kits yet to celebrate. I thought I’d share the video that raised my hopes. This was shot by Moses Silva the night of June 11 this year. The female emerges from a bank hole, is followed by the male and then they mate. I just noticed the vocalizations in this so turn your sound WAY UP if you want to be amazed with me. I think the female calls to him first, sounding almost like a whale, and when he follows you hear another grunting  (I think) male voice while they mate. It’s interesting to me because of that female invitation, which I don’t think has ever been written about. The sound occurs about 2 seconds in. I showed it to Bernie Krause when I heard it and he was interested, but said there was too much ‘ambient noise’ to really focus on.

Sheesh! It’s Martinez!

Well, what do you think? Is that a noise mom’s making at the beginning or not? And did that mating do its job or not? In all my years of filming and watching beavers I’ve never heard them blow bubbles until this film, and it seems like they both do. Maybe its a mating thing?

Beaver gestation is supposed to be around 107 days. So counting from the 12th of June her due date would be tonight, September 26. And here’s how weirdly synced am I, I didn’t know for sure her date until I just counted out the days with a calendar. That sure explains why she still looked huge in that last video. We don’t usually see the kits for the first three or four weeks, so when I get back from vacation they should be visible! Keep an eye out for me will you?

Assuming they exist.

Now, here’s something special just in case that sexy beaver footage got you in the mood.

D. S. & Durga HYLNDS Free Trapper (2016)

Brooklyn-based artisan perfumers D.S. & Durga released a new fragrance composition under their newer sub-label HYLNDS (pronounced « Highlands »). It is called Free Trapper, a throwback scent to the era of frontier people and the fur trade that was a magnet for adventurers in search of riches in the wilds…

« Beaver trappers were the cowboys of early America. Renegade mountaineers of the Jacksonian era who cut trails through the wild in search of beaver pelts – prized by hatters, doctors, & perfumers. »

The result is what looks on paper to be a dark, aromatic and animalic scent featuring notes of dark cedar, snake root, synthetic beaver castor, and wild bergamot.

That’s right. Now YOU TOO can smell like a beaver. Or a trapper. Take your pick. (I guess it depends on if you’re a top or a bottom.) All those years when I wrote about the barely-latent sexual admiration modern society has for trappers, you thought I was exaggerating. HA! Here’s the proof. A fairly expensive perfume that reminds the nose of the fur trade. Knowing how important the smell of castoreum was to the success of beaver trapping, makes this particularly horrible. I’m thinking this would be my reaction to the perfume:


Dear Mr. Fellman

   Posted by heidi08 On September - 25 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

I’m trying something different today. Rather than post my review of this misguided article in my usual quippy way, I’m going to address the author directly, like an old friend sharing a beer. I’ve written him through his blog already so I’m sure he’ll check to see mine when he opens his mail. Here’s the article that got my attention:

The potato rake and the battle with the beavers

  • OK last weekend I was spending way too much time at the millpond dam near my house. I was down there carrying a potato rake, a pitchfork, various shovels, and a collection of hearty oaths.

    I was frequently covered with mud, and I was always covered with sweat. I was, as I explained in an earlier edition of the Journal, doing battle with beavers, or, to use a somewhat earthier catch-phrase gleaned from a character that represented the Ipana toothpaste franchise in the 1950s, Bucky ”bleepin’” or “F-ing” Beaver. “You’re going to lose,” I was told cheerily when I revealed the fight I had undertaken against this apparently implacable foe.

    The folks gathered around the table at a monthly meeting of an environmental group I work with nodded their heads in agreement at this grim assessment. “Beavers always win… especially when all you have is a potato fork.” If I would put aside my liberal queasiness against the equally liberal use of nuclear weaponry, I might, was the consensus, have a fighting chance, but without the highest of high-powered arsenals, well, “You’ve read Don Quixote, right?”

    Ahh Bruce. You need better environmental friends! Come sit at our table. Yes, the beavers are determined not to freeze solid during the coming winter months, and they’d like to be able to reach all that food they’re busy storing so they don’t starve either. They’re quirky that way. But if you want that dam lower we can tell you how to keep it there successfully. And it won’t involve TNT or clam rakes.

    I couldn’t see any windmills on the horizon, and, in fact, I couldn’t see any beavers. That my foe was invisible was hardly surprising: Castor canadensis is, at the very least, crepuscular—active, that is, beginning at dusk—and the beavers I was confronting appeared to be downright nocturnal. I’ve found no signs of a permanent lodge. I can’t spot any suggestions of gnawed-down trees and shrubs. Ghost critters or not, they’ve certainly made their presence unmistakable.

    In front of the dam is a wall of mud, perhaps six inches high and foot wide. It’s reinforced with sticks and branches, many of which have been stripped of their nutritious bark—a beaver buffet item—and all of them showing signs of gnaw marks. Occasionally, I’ve found a beaver footprint, and if this wasn’t proof-positive of my invisible foe’s identity, consider the following.

    Crepuscular? Have you checked the nutrition label on a willow leaf lately? Do you really think a 60 lb beaver is going to consume all the calories he needs by eating leaves an hour a day? And find time leftover to raise a family and make the repairs you’re complaining about? Beavers are NOCTURNAL. And the biologist who made up the other thing also believed no one could see him if he closed his eyes.

    Indeed, it was the demise of the stream, a favorite hangout, which girded my loins for the fight. This nameless body of water has long been the home and, I suspect, nursery for a group of uncommon dragonflies known as Dragonhunters, large, fierce, and beautiful insects whose primary prey is fellow odonates, and I’d be hanged if I was going to let this creek be engineered out of existence. Now, when it comes to beavers, engineering is just what they do.

    Nature’s master craftsmen have been creating, maintaining, and, when they consider it appropriate, recreating wetlands to meet their needs since the glaciers receded more than ten thousand years ago. It’s simply their nature to do this, and when they returned to our area, after being trapped to the point of local extinction, in the 1970s, we were to learn that, even when we humans might suggest, “Bucky, this area is fine as is and doesn’t require any improvement,” there’s no arguing with beavers.

     But, I thought, perhaps my persistence might convince them to go elsewhere to practice their unnecessary dam trade. After all, there’s already a perfectly functional dam in place. The pond it created and maintains doesn’t require any additional help. So I do my daily work to bring back the water flow over the dam, and make the stream safe for its resident flora, from Bur Marigolds and Cardinal Flowers to liverworts and mosses, and resident fauna, which includes otters, minks, Great Blue Herons, crayfish, Powdered Dancer damselflies, Stinkpot turtles, Brook Trout, waterthrush warblers, or any of the myriad other animals I’ve spotted here since I took this area under my observational wing in 1984.

    Okay. This endears you to me, Bruce. You’re a stream keeper. You’re motivated by stewardship and want to prevent the stream from changes that will result in less biodiversity of the species you love to photograph. Me too!


    Dragonflies mating: Bruce Fellman

    (You take amazing photos by the way, you really should visit the beaver pond some evening before the month ends and try your hand at beaver photos. Poke around this website for a while and you’ll see the builders aren’t as impossible to see as you think.)

    mirror mirror

    Martinez Yearling Grooming: Cheryl Reynolds

    Hey guess who can help you take care of that creek you love? I’ll give you a hint. It has fur and a flat tail. Those deep pools have more to do with the brook trout and the turtles than you imagine. And those creek plants you love so much – guess who’s raising the water table so that their roots have something to drink? Beavers are the original creek stewards. Why not learn to work with them instead of against them?

    And every night, for the past few weeks, the Castorean Conservation Corps has returned with mud, sticks, and impressive skills to undo my efforts.

    Yes beavers fix repairs they believe are necessary for their family to survive the upcoming winter. Go Figure. Hey you’re good with tools and own a pair of waders. Why not buy Mike’s DVD and learn to install a flow device that will keep the dam at the height you can stand and still protects the beavers? It will save your creek and your sanity. Unwilling to spend a dime on these dam rodents? How about a free book that will teach you to do this as well? Or hey, if you don’t like being in the water, why not hire Mike Callahan or Skip Lisle to do it for you? They’re a phone call and a couple states away. We brought Skip out 3000 miles to solve our problem a decade ago. You’re getting off cheap.

    flexible-leveler-diagramNow, I’ll let you go. I’m glad we’ve had this little chat. I know you have a lot of reading to do. Start by watching our story to learn how the flow device controlled our dam height for ten years and how the beavers transformed our creek. Then go down some evening and actually watch the family you’re fighting with. There are a million fascinating columns in your future if you learn to appreciate the effect beavers have on wildlife and watersheds. Don’t believe me? Check out the writing of Vermont’s Patti Smith for the Battleboro Reformer, or Connecticut’s Ben Goldfarb for the High Country News.

    Beavers are natural environmentalists. You guys should be best friends. Really.

    State of the beaver







    Beaver Central

       Posted by heidi08 On September - 24 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

    Yesterday numberI received an  email about beavers in New Jersey, and a distress call about beavers in Eugene Oregon. Coming a day after my beaver good wishes from New Hamshire, I can only conclude that Worth A Dam is the nation’s number one resource for beaver advocacy.

    My email from Eugene included this video from Patricia and Greg McPherson concerned about the Island Lakes beavers in GoodPasture Island Oregon.

    I put her in touch with Leonard Houston of the Beaver Advocacy Committee, Kaegen Scully-Englemeyer of the Welands Conservancy and Jacob Shockley of Beaver State Wildlife Solutions. I’m sure between the three of them those beavers will have a fighting chance. She wrote a nice thank you note that I thought I’d share to draw attention to a newish resource I put together while the beaver mania talk was still fresh in my mind. Look to your left and up on the screen for the link.

    I watched your ‘Our Story”   ….VERY HEARTWARMING, FUNNY AND EDUCATIONAL…..KUDOS!  I’ve passed it on to city of Eugene, ODFW and others. That initial image of the beaver setting up shop in downtown….very risky, funny and ultimately—thanks to you——A VERY POSITIVE OUTCOME!

    Thank you for what you do-  patricia

    Good luck Patricia! Public interest  makes a huge difference in beavers lives and they are lucky to have yours!

    Time for some adorable news from WildHeart Ranch in Oklahoma who didn’t even know about this story until I posted it on FB and tagged them.  It’s a shame beaver orphans are so dam adorable, maybe if they were hideous and terrifying the world would make fewer of them?

    captureRescuers Wait For Sleepy Baby Beaver To Wake Up For His Breakfast

    “Good morning,” Dan at Wild Heart Ranch, a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Claremore, Oklahoma, said in a Facebook video on Friday. “I promised everybody I would send a morning video.”

    The star of the video is a very sleepy baby beaver named Rocky. And Dan is using the time while Rocky is still groggy to update all his fans.

    “Here he is waking up for his morning breakfast,” Dan explained. “Beavers are kind of temperamental. Rocky doesn’t want to eat yet because he’s not fully awake.”

    Not cute enough for you? Check your pulse. You may be dead. Can you hear the awww noises coming out of your mouth? Hmm, watch Annette feed the little sleepyhead just to be sure before we call the coroner. Any spare change you might want to send their way will be put to good use. Remember this is Oklahoma and teach folks to care for Nature is important.

    Now for our own local interests here at home, Jon saw Mom and Dad again last night. She wasn’t nearly as snugly as the day before and barked at Dad wen he wanted to cuddle. Which any just-delivered or about-to-deliver mom can understand. Still she looks great and she’s OURS.

    Beavers Beavers Beavers. We have beavers!

       Posted by heidi08 On September - 23 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

    Hurray! Jon saw both beavers last night! And when they came together they touched noses. I can’t help thinking that they’ve been out of sight for two weeks because Mom’s holed up in a den raising newborns. Dad is supposed to sleep somewhere else at first. So it makes sense they’d ‘greet’ after a night apart. We’re celebrating by marching down to Ward street this morning. But here are some treats until we get back.

    Beating the beaver at its own busy nature

    And now for the long awaited presentation by Art Wolinsky of New Hampshire:

    If you don’t have time to watch it now, I’ll just share my favorite part: the special birthday bonus from 3124 miles away.

    Beavers chewing and swimming but nothing light enough to film. Yesterday morning I was certain that we had no beavers at all. And now I’m thinking we have a new generation. Remember that this mom and dad don’t have any yearlings to help keep an eye on the youngsters, and that could explain why they went to bed early before the little on(s) toddled out of the crib. Here’s a look at the pictures in my head, courtesy of my FB buddy Sylvie ‘Biber’ Meller. These photos show the motherhood of a beaver in Scotland called Mrs. Bob. Sylvie she wrote this about her willingness to be filmed breast feeding her kits:

    It’s all about Mrs Bob. She is the most relaxed beaver ever! When i first saw her over 2 years ago she was living at the same spot (disappeared for almost a year after they were caught,tested and released before she came back again). It’s this little beach she loves on the other side of the river and she goes there for grooming herself , brings her food there and now has the kits there too 🙂 They live underneath an old tree, guess the root system has been washed out and thats what they made their home. So maybe its not big enough for her inside there? Or maybe she is a bit of a show off – had it a couple of times when i was waiting quietly to see her for hours and then some noisy people stop over and she comes out to sit down hahaha. Her partner behaves more like a “normal” beaver, only seen him on the beach a handful of times and he is usually off when he senses that people are around. Some weeks ago she came up on the footpath side to grab some willow twigs and i was only 1 1/2 m away – she was fully aware i was sitting there! And my partner had her sitting next to him (that was 2 years ago) and grooming herself – he could feel her fur onto his arms! 😮 The tests showed that she is one of 3 kits born to the original couple, but if you’d tell me she was raised by humans i would believe you!

    Round one goes to the beaver!

       Posted by heidi08 On September - 22 - 2016ADD COMMENTS

    Just when you thought it was safe to go for a swim. Oh no! Another beaver attack! Poor man got stitches and all he did to provoke the ruthless toothed marauder was punch it in the head!

    Beaver Wins This Round: Bites Man’s Hand After Taking Punch in Fairfax County, Say Police

    FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — A beaver bit a man on the hand Sunday night after the man punched the animal near a pond in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County, according to Fairfax County Police.

    The man says the incident began when the beaver came out of the water, bit his shoe and wouldn’t let go. The incident took place just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday near Montauk Court and New Providence Drive (see map below). The man, 52, reported to police that he was at the water’s edge when the beaver came out of the water and bit his shoe.

    In an attempt to get the beaver to release his bite, the man punched the beaver in the head several times and then fell backward, police said. The beaver’s bite did not break the skin, but the man sustained a cut to the hand, according to police.

    Not the brand new Ferragamos! No wonder he punched the rodent several times. Apparently the beaver never broke the skin but his attacker did. Good Lord.

    Animal cruelty aside, there appears to be a 600 mile stretch of rabies-exposed beavers in the East, strabiesretching from North Carolina to Maryland. Here’s a partial list of the attacks I reported last year that were determined to be rabies. Of course its hard to tease out whether the cause because they all happen in the summer when A) folks are swimming and B) beavers are protecting young. They can only test the brains of dead beavers for rabies, but its safe to say that at least SOME of these are rabid because you never read about a beaver attack in the midwest or California for instance.

    Be careful out there.



    Another work of Art

       Posted by heidi08 On September - 21 - 2016Comments Off on Another work of Art

    A while ago I was contacted by ‘Voices of Wildlife’ in New Hampshire. They were having some beaver issues and wanted help educating the public. I told them that a fantastic supporter lived right near by and introduced them to Art Wolinsky. They arranged an education event at the public library last night. And Art stepped up to the job boldly. Not only did the retired engineer prepare a wonderful multimedia presentation at a moments notice, he also arranged to film it so it could be shown in other venues around the state.  Oh, and my FB friend who was there tells me his last line was ‘Happy Birthday, Heidi”. Which is honestly beyond touching.



    A multimedia presentation, by Art Wolinsky and Voices of Wildlife in NH, about how to derive the benefits of beaver created habitat while eliminating conflict and negative impact.

    When beavers began threatening the culverts at Art’s condo in 2009 he reached out to the experts who helped him and the other residents create solutions to live peacefully with the beavers. They ended up with a win-win for all involved.

    Learn how this was achieved by attending this free and open to the public event. Contact with any questions.

    Art is also putting his film on youtube and I can’t wait for the chance to share it with you! Just another example of beautiful Art work!

    Now as it was my birthday yesterday I tried to only do the things I wanted and allowed myself to play with a very silly tool on my iPad that I had never really used  before. How fun is this?

    Best Birthday Present Ever.

       Posted by heidi08 On September - 20 - 2016Comments Off on Best Birthday Present Ever.

    Yesterday we drove into the high sierras looking for fall color. Instead of finding color we found BEAVERS! I’m posting photos today because they’re beautiful and it’s my birthday. This is lush, gently inclined meadow, and its covered in willow in the Hope Valley. I can’t imagine a better place to be a beaver – and these guys have been busy.  We counted 6 dams. I’m sure there are a dozen.


    The longest dam spanned nearly 75 feet and was three feet high. But I’m partial to the curvey one myself.

    It’s all very fitting, not only because it’s my birthday but also because our favorite habitat 15 miles up at the Hung-a-lei-ti tribe was abandoned or destroyed in the past years.

    In addition to willow there are lilies and berries for hungry beavers to eat. We didn’t find the lodge yet, but as the winter is creeping in soon, there must be a good stash  in the deepest pool near by.

    fullsizerenderThis was such fun habitat, we would stop to look at what seemed like a dam down stream and notice there was one upstream as well! I found this one. Now here is a bonus picture of my nearly favorite kind of tree, the giant ancient Sierra Juniper, because you know why: