Archive for the ‘Beaver Behavior’ Category

Beaver Beatitudes

Posted by heidi08 On July - 21 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Let’s start Monday right with some good news for a change. How about this story from Oregon of a culvert repaired to allow salmon passage. Don’t worry, it gets more interesting.

Easier migration for salmon in east Multnomah County’s Beaver Creek: $500,000 fix for troublesome culverts

A coho salmon nears the end of its life’s journey in the spawning gravel of Eagle Creek, a tributary of the Columbia River in Oregon. Salmon and steelhead trout have trouble reaching their historic spawning grounds in Beaver Creek because of a culvert that makes it difficult for fish to swim or jump upstream. (The Oregonian file photo)

Culverts are box- or pipe-shaped openings that roadbuilders install to allow streams to pass underneath, but often their configuration makes it difficult for fish to swim or jump upstream. Fish ladders built into culverts to help can break over the years.

Metro awarded the county a $579,500 Nature in Neighborhoods grant July 10 to replace a culvert under Cochran Road with a bridge, allowing fish to more easily reach areas upstream from Mt. Hood Community College’s Gresham campus.

Roy Iwai, the county’s water quality manager, said a variety of local government and nonprofit groups are working together to make the creek more hospitable to its 13 species of native fish.

The water upstream from the culverts also includes plenty of natural dams from the creek’s namesake beavers, but those are passable for fish and beaver ponds provide ideal rearing habitat for young coho salmon, Iwai said.

Ohhh Oregon! You are so much smarter than most. We are all inspired to see Mr. Iwai understanding the importance of beavers to salmon. From scientist to city worker, you know that beavers are Worth A Dam. It’s so impressive. California can only hope to get there one day. Well done Beaver State!

Now we’re moving East towards Montana where they are getting a bit smarter as well.

Animal Wonders is a fully licensed and insured educational outreach organization. We provide educational presentations with live exotic animals for schools, summer camps, community events, birthday parties, and other special occasions. We travel to your location with some of our very special animal ambassadors to teach about wildlife, conservation, and a love of nature.

As you may have guessed, I am not a huge fan of slick operations that bring live animals to elementary school auditoriums to teach them an “appreciation of Nature”. I think children (and animals) are better served when  we open our front doors and let them go see for themselves – say by standing on the footbridge and watching the Martinez Beavers. (Of course it helps if folks don’t kill everything that wanders into their town so there’s things to see.) But this video,  SciShow made by Animal Wonders (because the young people like those abbrevs). isn’t bad. In fact it doesn’t have one fact I disagree with.

Just two photos. (See if you can play “Spot the Nutria”.)

Well? Did you find them? I can only hope they bring the right animal for their costly presentations! I wrote them about the mistake and said if they re-edit to include how important beavers are to fish, water and birds, we will give them amazing photos of actual beavers for free! (If you’re still puzzled, look for stiff white whiskers and narrow eyes.)

Last night our kit was up early, and out at the secondary on his own for a while doing very beavery things. Several people got to see him, including visitors from Golden Gate Audubon that missed the Wednesday walk but wanted to see for themselves. Dad beaver even showed up to take the little one past the secondary and down to where he was chewing willow. He swam along side adorably and even rode on his back for moments. Then let Dad go on his own and came back upstream to forage.

We thought how heartening it is to see Dad be so nurturing after at least seven years of kits. Apparently he still feels paternal even after all these years and 20 youngsters.

Oh we also thought it was great to see the new kit embracing prohibition and rejecting the wicked influences of alcohol.

2014 baby

2014 Kit – Heidi Perryman

Goofus and Gallant – Beaver Version

Posted by heidi08 On July - 18 - 2014Comments Off

Do you remember those days at the dentist reading Highlights as a kid? There was a cartoon describing a boy who did things right, and one who got everything wrong? (Before you ask, there were no girls at all, because we obviously weren’t important enough to have moral development).

I couldn’t help but think of that looking at this mornings beaver news from Canada. Let’s start with Goofus from (where else) Saskatchewan.

Red Willow Run and the need for beaver management

A combination of excess rains and beaver dams letting go led to a large mass of water flowing through the Red Willow Run in the northeast of Moose Mountain Provincial Park territory, which affected not only parkland but farmland and roads further down the run in the R.M. of Wawken.

Weatherald says there used to be trappers in the area who dealt with beaver east of Hwy 9 for the park, but that beaver management in this area hasn’t been a priority lately. The trappers who used to work in this area are mostly too old for the work and younger generations are not picking it up, which seems to be a trend in trapping.

Not only are those poor trappers too old to work. They are obviously  too old to LEARN. Just a thousand miles west they are a a lot smarter about beaver management.

Trying to get along with neighbours

Not far from a spot where a beaver toppled a tree on to a power line, sparking a brush fire last summer, four volunteers work to ensure the industrious rodents can’t chew through another pine.

They’ve spent the morning behind a townhouse complex which abuts Kanaka Creek wrapping trees with wire to protect them from a family of beavers.

“Coexistence is the new strategy,” says Leslie Fox, the executive director of the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.

 The “Fur Bearer Defenders” were called in after several trees nibbled by the semi-aquatic animals fell on to townhouses.

 Instead of calling a trapper, the strata opted for a more humane approach. “I think trapping’s days are numbered,” said Fox.  “One of the things we’ve noticed with trapping is the conflict it causes in the urban environment.

“What ends up happening is people’s pets get caught. It doesn’t solve the problem and it creates a danger for people who live near [the traps].”

But maybe you’re thinking, sure that’s fine for protecting trees. But what about the real problems beavers cause? Like flooding and blocked culverts?

Mission, like many other municipalities, had a long history of manually breaking apart dams, as well as trapping and killing beavers.

 But since last year, Mission has embraced methods that prevent beavers from building a dam in the first place.

 Besides tree cages and pipes in dams, Mission has also been building wire fences around culvert intakes, to interrupt the beavers’ natural instinct to build where there’s current and the sound of flowing water.

 Dale Vinnish, the public works operations supervisor told Black Press last year, the devices “work awesome.”

 “We don’t have to trap beavers. They moved elsewhere. They’re not causing a problem,” Vinnish said.

 The “beaver deceivers,” at $400-$600 apiece and built in one day, save the District of Mission thousands of dollars, because workers no longer have to pull apart dams.

 Previously, the municipality would break down two to three dams daily, several days a week, in addition to paying for the capturing and killing of about a dozen beavers annually.

And that’t the beaver version of Goofus and Gallant, which if you’re lucky is coming to a country near you soon. For our readers following along at home, which story do you like better? Who do you think is doing better  on the graph below?learning curve


Three New Obstacles to DEFRA’s Plan

Posted by heidi08 On July - 16 - 2014Comments Off


Wild beaver kits born in Devon’s River Otter

 A wild beaver which is due to be taken into captivity has given birth to three young. Two adult beavers, one juvenile and the three young, known as kits, are now believed to be living on the River Otter in Devon.

 The government had said the beavers would be rehomed, as they could be carrying a disease.

 But wildlife campaigners said they hoped to get permission for them to stay. Sightings of the animals in the River Otter were believed to be the first of their kind for centuries.

 What great timing! This whole escapade has a perfectly timed campaign-air to it. First make international news everywhere by getting a farmer to film beavers for the first time in centuries and then – just when DEFRA has argued that they need to be taken to the zoo, release video of the new KITS. Which will go viral very quickly. I can’t embed it but click on the photo to go to the BBC site and see for yourself.

I feel like this could mean something – not for DEFRA obviously because they’re soulless badger killers, but for the public campaign to tie DEFRA’s hands.  If I were an English beaver supporter I’d put this footage EVERYWHERE and install 5 more cameras to get more adorable glimpses into beaver life.

I think at the moment the scoreboard looks like this.


Seems DEFRA hasn’t forgotten it’s sinister lines yet…

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said the animals could be carrying a disease “not currently present in the UK”.

 ”We are taking precautionary action by testing the beavers,” a spokesman said.

 ”This will be done with their welfare in mind.”

 He added the department would wait until the kits were a suitable age before testing them.

Ask the Experts

Posted by heidi08 On July - 9 - 20141 COMMENT

Beaver proves to be nuisance neighbour for Bathurst-area man

Hazen McCrea wants the province to deal with beaver dam blocking a culvert for fears of flooding

Beaver dam blocks culvert by Hazen McCrea’s home

A beaver dam is blocking the culvert that drains Hazen McCrea’s property and he’s worried about flooding if the provincial government doesn’t do something to help. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

The structure is starting to interfere with proper drainage of the 81-hectare property and if the beaver continues construction, McCrea worries about where all the water will go.

A beaver dam is blocking the culvert that drains Hazen McCrea’s property and he’s worried about flooding if the provincial government doesn’t do something to help. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

But he says every time he calls the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, he gets the run around.

Department officials told CBC News the beaver dam is not in the department’s right-of-way and suggested contacting the Department of Natural Resources.

New Brunswick is on the other side of Maine located about 500 miles from the inventor of the beaver deceiver which protects culverts (Skip Lisle in Vermont).  I’m not clear why New Brunswick is so totally unprepared for beavers, except that its very near PEI which is NOTORIOUS in dealing with beavers. Maybe all that helplessness and beaver stupid  floated in with the tides?

anne-trapping(Indulgent aside: This is one of my first and favorite graphics in the history of my beaver life. I couldn’t find it at first in my files – but no worries. I just googled PEI Beavers and it was the first image that came up.

Hahaha. I must be very popular in the region.)

beaver taking bath

Lory sent this photo the other day and it deserves our adoring attention. It also reminds us that it’s kit season and well-meaning rehabbers from  Calgary to Kentucky are inheriting the orphaned beavers of a trap-happy world. It turns out taking care of kits is a lot more complicated than most people realize. I do all I can to funnel information to our good friend and adviser Cher Button-Dobmeier of the Abbe-freeland Animal Sanctuary. She has rehabbed thousands of beavers and realizes the mistakes folks are most likely to make.


Cheryl and I have been begging her to write something for the rehab section, but she is resistant. “Every kit is different” she says. “And I don’t want people to feel like they are confident in what to do. I want people to ASK and keep asking, so that we can spot the problems before they become un-fixably fatal.”

It’s hard to argue with that.

Cher Button-Dobmeier, Director
Abbe-Freeland Animal Sanctuary, Inc.
8104 Terwilliger Rd.
Angelica, NY 14709

Muskrat love?

Posted by heidi08 On July - 8 - 2014Comments Off

Mary Sonis: Muskrat love: An expose

The muskrat is a prolific water rodent that can be found in most slow creeks and ponds throughout North America. Romance in early spring is not characterized by candlelight and dancing (and yes, those are actual lyrics) but by the bloodbath that occurs between males fighting for territory and breeding rights.

 Muskrats are feisty, and will often fight to the death before breeding begins. Generally, the females are not involved in this fray, but they do wander the pond in breeding season, emitting small squeaks that advertise their availability. Once the female has found a mate, it is a fairly monogamous relationship, and she will often produce as many as three litters in a season. A typical litter will average six kits, primarily cared for by their mother. She raises them in a den that is a loosely built mound of grasses set high to avoid spring floods.

This is a cute article about an oft-overlooked species, but I’m not sure about the word bloodbath? We haven’t seen tons of suffering males in our creek? I remember one muskrat years ago that looked like it had a bight taken out of its side, but the teeth marks were way bigger than a muskrat. More like dog.

Blood bath?

The coolest footage I ever saw of a muskrat was on Moses’ camera. A mated pair  worked together to chase a hungry mink away from their nest. Muskrats at war, popping up out of the water all over squeaking furiously until that mink threw in the towel and swam away! It was so brave!

Of course in 8 years of observation I’ve  admittedly never seen this….

It is a disaster for any photographer when a muskrat appears on the scene. Ever alert, the muskrat will thwack its tail on the water, darting in circles of alarm, causing all nearby wildlife to flee.

What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just enjoy a nice cheerful muskrat article without thinking the author is insane? Or mixing up species? Of course I went looking for more references to muskrats sounding the alarm by smacking their tails. Maybe they’re just lazy in Martinez? What do I know? You can guess how many other references I found to these muskrat security services. It’s a round number.

Well, I did find this one from Harper’s magazine in 1919 by Walter Pritchard Eaton called “Little folks who gnaw”. Which is also a cute article. And similarly colorful.

CaptureAnd there you have it. This clearly happened once upon a time 100 years ago, maybe her bloodthirsty muskrats are just behind the times? Rip Van Muskrat?

Or maybe I’m just wrong and missing something. It happens. Write me your own sightings of muskrat tail-thumping and set me straight? Footage would be awesome. I know beaver and muskrats learn a lot from each other.

One last complaint: who in their right mind would name this adorable baby “pickles”?

Pickles the beaver is one of many wildlife orphans who has been helped by Critter Care wildlife rehabilitation centre in South Langley. The organization holds its annual open house on Saturday and Sunday.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Bits and pieces

Posted by heidi08 On July - 7 - 2014Comments Off

Good job team beaver, the Beaver Believers project is now fully funded, which means we can all look forward to a fantastic beaver-lovin film in the near future. In the mean time I read that the Taipei zoo is celebrating its first beaver kit birth ever, and you can just imagine the rich concrete life this little guy is going to have!

Young beaver

A North American beaver pup, born at Taipei Zoo on June 19, plays in water in this undated photo. It was the first reproduction of the species at the zoo. Photo courtesy of Taipei Zoo July 7, 2014

We just finished reading a detailed response from expert beaver rehabber Cher Button-Dobmeier to the Alberta Wildlife Rescue about how kits need to have water they can fully immerse in to drink and urinate – and that if they don’t they will hold it in and get UTI’s which are a one way ticket to worse infections and possible death.

(And I for one, know that to be factually true!)

The map for this year’s festival is done and it took three days to finish with a million changes and details during which I greatly hated everyone in the world including beavers. So if you happen to notice that I spelled your name wrong or you can’t possibly be next to those people, I would think very carefully about drawing it to my attention.

2014 map

And something for beaver cheer this morning we look to the brits, who are so delightful when it comes to loving wildlife. Even if DEFRA is evil.

“Tussocky and Clumpy!” -  imagine that on an american program!

Beaver Independence

Posted by heidi08 On July - 5 - 2014Comments Off

Beaver Believers has hit the final 12 hours of their Kickstarter, and producer Sarah Koenisberg says she’s proud, humbled, and excited by how it’s gone! Someone has stepped forward and will match all  funds raised above $15k – pretty awesome!  So we have until 3pm today to make one final press to support this important film – the only film to feature our own Martinez Beavers and their festival! Please check your penny jar and see if you have anything left to spare.

Jon and I were on the bridge last night watching out for beavers with the massive foot traffic that was making its way down to the fireworks. Many surprised passers-by saw 4 beavers, including the little peanut who was taking advantage of the very high tide to get out of his playpen, over the secondary and swimming through the secondary to look for treats!  This is the most horrible footage in the history of the world with all the bouncing foot traffic on the secondary, but at least he had the good sense to go back inside after this. Fun to hear so many visitors saying they saw the documentary on PBS about beavers and they couldn’t wait to come back to this years festival! Even a family from Walnut Creek who were all members of the SF Scottish Fiddlers and wanted to play this year but there wasn’t room!

It looks like Derek Gow in Scotland is thinking about a legal battle over the Devon beavers and that’s music to my ears. The sinister part of DEFRA’s decision is that the conclusion of the Scottish Beaver Trial means the final decision will be made in 2015, which means beavers will be formally back in the UK and protected. So they want to get rid of these refugees NOW while they’re still unsafe. Isn’t that rotten?

Expert may mount legal challenge to Defra’s beaver removal plan

Mr Gow said: “The Eurasian beaver is a former native species. There is significant national and local support for the restoration of this species and a wider appreciation within society of the ecological benefits that would accrue from its presence. Britain is now the last large western European nation state where the species has not been reintroduced.”

 In conclusion, he said the beavers on the Otter should be captured and tested and – if clear of the EM disease – be tagged and re-released following a survey to ensure the river was a suitable home for them.

 Mr Gow added that he and his colleagues would consider a legal challenge if Defra went ahead with the capture and re-homing programme.

 Go Derek Go! He has been lone voice for beaver in the region for so long, but the tide is changing and he’s not alone anymore. And this is just the kind of negative ad campaign Martinez learned was so effective in raise public support for beavers! Nice work DEFRA!

I was a little more surprised to see the Austrian version of this story running Cheryl’s photo! But it’s on wikipedia so that means everyone in the world can use it. Your welcome!

Capture And even if you had your share of fireworks last night, you HAVE to watch this because it’s a historic first that was never possible before and may never be legal again. This was filmed by drone last night from INSIDE the explosion of fireworks in West Palm Beach Florida in May. It had a couple thousand hits when I first saw it last night, now it is cresting 2 million. Aside from being the single best use of a drone ever, watch all the way through, because it will blow every part of your mind.

Apparent this amazing use of the drone caught the attention of authorties and is illegal. Check out the disapproving article on Forbes. But if Jos Stiglingh does ever get in trouble for this his attorney only needs to show the video to the jury. Because it’s awesome.