Because the beaver isn't just an animal; it's an ecosystem!

The Martinez Beavers

Time Flies

Share the beaver gospel!

Over the break I filled out the application for Worth A Dam to return to the Flyway Festival at Mare Island. (Their website is down for renewal so I can’t give a link just yet.) This will be our fourth visit to bird Mecca and we couldn’t be happier. This is a massive expo of everything and everyone you wanted to know about our feathered friends. There are tours and trainings and field trips. Plus beavers. Who could ask for more?

I’m always particularly interested in talking about the relationship between beavers and birds. Whether it’s blue heron’s nesting in flooded trees at a beaver pond, or wood ducks benefitting from beaver habitat, I’m thrilled to make the link. This year I want to really emphasize the Cooke and Zack study that showed that beavers make ideal nesting habitat with their chewing by promoting coppicing – which makes the trees regrow bushy and dense. Their study found that the result means that as the number of beaver dams go up the number of migratory and songbirds also go up.

But how to preach this gospel in a way that resonates? There are always a lot of smart children at the flyway festival, so I thought we’d put them to work on the idea. I’m imagining something like this. A large poster that explains:

coppice beaversThen get them to teach the concept for us! The idea is that first we teach about beavers providing habitat by promoting coppicing, and then we let kids ‘populate’ the trees with birds and nests!

coppice art project for flywayThis bare tree poster will be blown up on a cork board at our display. Children will be encouraged to make birds and nests using construction paper, tissue paper, yarn, glue, paper plates, cotton balls, patterned paper, then stick them on the tree wherever they like. I’m imagining it might look something like this when it’s finished. Only much, much better.

with birds

Beavers and Birds! What a combination!