I haven’t had the good luck of seeing a beaver since the Sunday before I went in the hospital. So it’s been nine whole weeks since I saw them in person. The longest absence ever. And the last couple of times I went down it was a ghost town with narry a beaver in sight. I started to think sad thoughts about them being gone, or using another habitat, or not feeling like Alhambra Creek was hospitable to beavers any more. My only consoling observation was that the primary dam has been lovingly maintained and was looking very tight.
But last night we saw 5 beavers!
They are definitely all living above the primary. When we got there one adult was working on the dam. Then two fast moving (barely yearlings) dashed over the primary and down to the secondary where they fished around for goodies, argued over who got what with audible whining, and did a little haphazard work.
This rough housing on the dam must have got mom’s attention, because she showed up next, taking a mouthful of branches to the gap, then sitting right next to the selfish one and daring him to try that with her. Which he didn’t. They touched noses and then she swam off with him following right behind. Only to each return with huge balls of mud which they carefully pushed onto the dam in tandem. This modeling sparked about four more trips to the dam with mud, even without mom to supervise. Still, like most young teenagers on the job, they were easily distracted by anything shiny.
Their somewhat more haphazard dam shows a little work has been done since the last rain. Obviously all those branches that wash down the creek in flooding get put to good use. Watching mom and our new yearlings work last night we realized how fast this could all happen.
I can’t tell you how normal and cheerful it felt to them, and how utterly reassuring it was to see mom in loving attendance. I realized the three toddlers we watched emerge last year are now safely in their tweens and well on their way to adulthood. That’s 19 more beavers in the world because of US. And probably more born right now tucked away in the lodge that we just can’t count until they emerge.
In case you can’t tell, I was inspired. You just have to watch this.