We just got word from JDH of a beaver dead near the Marina Vista entrance onto Northbound 680. The kind woman who wrote to alert me says it was likely struck by a car. She’s certain it was a beaver. As it’s February and young beavers are ‘dispersing’ traffic deaths are not unheard of for beavers. We know there are other families of beaver in Martinez. A female beaver was found dead at nearby Mountain View sanitation not too long ago, and after the death another beaver came to the exact same spot – possibly looking for its mate. This could be the survivor of that pair. But we can’t be certain its not one of ours. It’s a sad day for beavers. Jon and Jean both went out to have a look. Looks like a yearling with a kit-sized tail. I don’t think it’s one of ours. Sad,though. Drive carefully and keep an eye out for beavers.
Now let’s think about something more hopeful:
This is Paulina Unrue. She is in first grade at Kensington Elementary School. Last year their teacher told the class the story of the Martinez beavers and encouraged them all to go see them before they were to turn in a report on the subject. She was a fiece wide-eyed little wisp of a girl who tiptoed around the footbridge watching our kits with a bouquet of fresh fennel clutched to her chest like a bride. The beavers did not disappoint, and were apparently appreciated!Since you’ve heard pretty much everything I have to say about beavers, I thought you’d want to see some highlights from Paulina’s report today. (Since she was so young and remembered so much, I have to imagine mom had at least something to do with it! Good job Mom!) This was my favorite part:
MY VISIT TO MARTINEZ TO SEE BEAVERS
They showed us around the creek and I could see several dams build by beavers, their old lodge and also hear some interesting stories.
There are seven beavers living in the creek now – father, mother, their five kits and yearlings. Old mother beaver died three years ago from infection after she broke her tooth. They were really worried because she left behind three kits but father did a great job raising them. Jon told me that the night the mother beaver died her older son who left a year before came back and they saw him swimming in the creek with a kit brother on his back.
Three years ago heavy rains washed out all beaver dams and lodges. Father beaver left after that and later returned with new young mate. Together they had four baby beavers. I got to see one of them swimming underneath the bridge. Little beaver swam to the shore, grabbed a branch of willow tree and dove into the creek.
Jon showed me some trees that were gnawed by a beaver. City of Martinez protects some trees and to keep beavers away they decided to put a metal net around some of the trees and also cover the bark with the paint that beavers don’t like.
Some of the beavers’ favorite trees in Martinez are willow and cotton wood. Female beavers also like wild fennel, especially when they are nursing. Martinez beavers also like carrots and I threw them at the dam so beavers can have their favorite snack.
Heidi explained to me why beavers were keystone species and presented me with a special necklace to remember it. She also invited me to their annual Beaver Festival that happens in Martinez every August.
Thanks Paulina for sharing your lovely report! Its a bright spot in a grim day and we appreciate it.
Yesterday’s gift was three stunning hand drawn pins from Niina Koivusalo in Tampere Finland. Her work can be found at NinnyandKook here. They are drawn in India Ink on pressboard. Usually the donations from Etsy are wonderfully evocative crafts from creative people who care about wildlife. Niina’s are truly works of art, and when you see them you will agree with me. Her shop is on vacation at the moment, but I wouldn’t hesitate pick up something of your own when she gets back. I assume Niina will be on Etsy for very little time before she is snatched up at a gallery somewhere. In the meantime, look at these: