Archive for the ‘Beaver Behavior’ Category

Kimbetopsalis Simmonsae (Pre-Beaver)

Posted by heidi08 On October - 5 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

Guess what they just found out took over the planet after all those lizardy dinosaurs were wiped by the comet? OF COURSE YOU KNOW THE ANSWER.

Kimbetopsalis Simmonsae was a plant-eating mammal that exploded into the void created by the now extinct lizards. Weighing at a hefty 50 lbs and taking advantage of all the lush vegetation. Although it has no direct descendents, is success made room for the descent line of every mammal alive today.

Including us.

Recognize this plant-eating tooth structure? Molars in the back and incisors in the front? The fossil was found in New Mexico, the site of the dinosaur-hitting crater. Because these pre-beavers wasted NO time.

It’s literally all over the news this morning, how beaver-like creatures took over after the lizards and made a new race of mammals, but here’s a science-based report from sent by BK from Georgia.

How we found the ‘prehistoric beaver’ that helped mammals inherit Earth after dinosaurs were wiped out

Sixty six million years ago the world changed in an instant. A huge asteroid, some ten kilometers in diameter, smashed into what is now Mexico. It arrived with the force of several million nuclear bombs, and unleashed a deadly cocktail of wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes.

It wasn’t a good time to be alive. Scientists estimate that about 75% of all species became extinct, most famously among them the dinosaurs. But some of our furry ancestors managed to make it through the apocalypse. With T. rex and Triceratops now out of the picture, gutsy little mammals had a new world to colonize.

A new fossil from New Mexico is helping us better understand how mammals took advantage of the dinosaur extinction to become the incredibly successful creatures that we know today. It was discovered and studied by a team of researchers that I am part of, led by Thomas Williamson of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

Despite appearances, Kimbetopsalis was no beaver (which is a type of rodent). It was a member of a completely extinct group of mammals called multituberculates, which originated alongside the dinosaurs, survived the extinction, diversified afterwards, and ultimately went extinct 35 million years ago when they were superseded by the smarter, faster-growing modern rodents.

Kimbetopsalis is testament to how the history of life hinges on moments that can reset the course of evolution. T. rex and kin had ruled the Earth for over 100 million years. Then suddenly the world was thrown into chaos by rapid environmental change. Dinosaurs couldn’t cope and all of a sudden they were gone. Their size and strength couldn’t save them. Mammals fared better, and now one species of brainy ape occupies that dominant place in nature that was once held by the dinosaurs.

Opportunity Seized, Change Created,  Evolving Conditions Utilized

. Scientists were stunned this this adaption could have taken place so quickly. But I’m not stunned. Sounds like a beaver to me, don’t you think?

This seems like a great time to repost the obvious.

Brush with Destiny

Posted by heidi08 On October - 3 - 2015Comments Off on Brush with Destiny

<a href=The other day I happened to stumble upon these lovely drawings from illustrator Cornelia Svela, a talented artist in Ontario Canada. She did these beaver sketches for the ministry of the education, because (as we well know) children LOVE to learn about beavers..



Beaver gnawing: Cornelia Svela

Of course I established first contact at once, telling her about our festival and our work to save beavers. I explained that we were a nonprofit with a million inspiring beaver photos and maybe someday she would want to draw something for us? Of course I told her about the top teeth mislead and she said she hadn’t ORIGINALLY drawn them – but they had been requested. Of course. Because people don’t want to teach children the truth. They want to teach them what they learned.


Beaver Swimming: Cornelia Svela

I asked whether she had ever done and Over/under/over dam illustration and here is the sketch she sent me. Wouldn’t you love to see this reach it’s potential?

beaver dam and lodge

Over/under dam and lodge sketch. Cornelia Svela

Good news this morning is that the Butte fire is 100% contained. Thank everyone involved and the firefighters most especially. Folks near my parents house said everyone bent over backward to take care of those affected, right down to the trash company doing free pickups of spoiled food when everyone’s power went down.Capture Now I’m off to the ocean. Be good to whatever beavers you can.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

E.E. Cummings

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Posted by heidi08 On September - 24 - 2015Comments Off on Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Oh sure. No beaver news for 5 whole days and then an EXPLOSION of stories to share. Well, we have to start with this, because I told you it was coming 10 days ago.

Beaver: Back to the Future

Beaver, whose dams help slow the flow of water, play a key role in the health of our forests. They create wetlands, reduce the force of floods, and expand riparian habitat for wildlife. In our new 13-minute video “Beaver: Back to the Future,” four Forest Service employees and a retired Regional Forester eloquently and enthusiastically praise the power of beaver to beneficially restore and manage national forest water flows in the face of climate change.

Beaver: Back to the Future from Grand Canyon Trust on Vimeo.

Wasn’t that awesome? Everyone did such a fantastic and compelling job. And Trout Unlimited funded. How long must we wait for it to catch on. The smartest beaver folk in three states. Now only 47 more to go!


Maybe Coca cola can help. Beaver: the paws that refreshes!

Coca-Cola Leaves It to Beavers to Fight the Drought

What do Coca-Cola and beavers have in common? It sounds like the setup of a bad joke, but the fates of beavers and bottlers look increasingly intertwined. Coke is funding the deployment of beavers in the United States to build dams and create ponds that can replenish water supplies for local ecosystems and ultimately, people.

Coke’s deployment of engineering rodents has a similar goal: getting water into the ground. Before Europeans’ arrival on the continent, beavers lived in nearly every headwaters stream in North America, and they shaped the continent.

“They were everywhere and having a huge impact on the landscape and the hydrology,” said Frances Backhouse, a Victoria, British Columbia–based author whose book, Once They Were Hats, about the history and environmental role of beavers, will be published Oct. 1.

“Beavers mean higher water tables and water on the landscape throughout the dry seasons as well wet seasons,” she said. They are, according to Backhouse, “the only animal in the world that can rival us in terms of engineering the landscape.”

The funding repairs stream crossings and restores streams damaged by wildfires in California, New Mexico, Illinois, Michigan, and Colorado. It is helping to pay for the beaver project, which seeks to boost water retention in the Upper Methow River watershed in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington state.

Natural solutions like deploying the beavers are a good value, said Radtke. An earlier project in the Sierra Nevada Mountains used heavy equipment to install a series of plugs to contain water so it could seep into sediment. “It was fantastic,” he said. “It was working. But it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The Upper Methow Beaver Project, a joint effort of five organizations, accomplishes the same thing for less. Coke’s investment in the project in 2014 was around $40,000. Total project cost for that year was $271,000.

“It turns out that beavers work cheaper than big, heavy, yellow equipment,” said Radtke.

Ya think?

Alright, credit where credit’s due, relocating beavers to save water is MUCH better than killing them, and kudos to Coke for having the sense to fund a winner. But really the ideal place for beavers to be improving water is everywhere there is water and people to drink it, and I’ll be happiest when they are allowed to relocate themselves.


Smiling beaver kit by Cheryl Reynolds

Update on the little munchkin at Lindsay who survived the night and was looking healthier today. He’ll be ready to leave in a couple days, and if they can’t locate his family he’ll go to our friends at Sonoma Wildlife Rescue to mature and learn to be a beaver. This morning Cheryl and Kelly went out looking for his family and may have seen another kit and some chewed tulles. Fingers crossed he’ll be reunited with loved ones soon.

The grass is always greener…

Posted by heidi08 On September - 13 - 2015Comments Off on The grass is always greener…
wrestling Rusty

Napa kits wrestle in Tulocay Beaver pond: Rusty Cohn

I know what you’re thinking. Napatopia gets all the breaks. Cute kits growing up and wrestling for photographs. A beautiful photographic lodge anchored to a tree so it won’t wash away. Support from RCD, Flood control AND the county supervisors. A well-attended beaver talk at a local bookstore with ample community support. Yes Napa has it easy in lots of ways.

But here’s one thing Martinez won’t envy.


Freshwater leeches hitch a ride: Hank Miller

These are freshwater leeches in Tulocay creek riding on the back of a pond turtle. Leeches feel the vibration of whatever swims by and float up to catch a meal or a lift. And the hot weather has sent an explosion of them into the streams and lakes of California.

So I guess it’s okay having a little salt water once in a while. Because EWWW.

Personal update. The monster fire burned some firefighters and 86 people’s homes yesterday, but not my parents’. It is  has now burned 65,215 acres and is a  whopping 20% contained.  Still wishing for rain.

Moving the problem in Wyoming

Posted by heidi08 On September - 12 - 2015Comments Off on Moving the problem in Wyoming

Sherry Guzzi of the Sierra Wildlife Coalition sent this yesterday. Her sister lives in Jackson Hole where the documentary will be having its American debut.

Nature club to screen movie about beavers


Drew Reed of the Wyoming Wetland Society releases one of two beavers into a wetland in the Gros Ventre in 2009. The film “Beavers Behaving Badly” documents Reed’s catch-and-release work. It will be screened tonight by the Jackson Hole Bird and Nature Club.

On Tuesday the club will present wildlife filmmaker Jeff Hogan’s one-hour documentary “Beavers Behaving Badly,” a BBC production. The screening is in conjunction with the club’s regular monthly meeting, 6 to 8 p.m. at Teton County Library.

The film explores the importance of beavers in the area’s ecosystem. Valley biologist Drew Reed is documented over the course of a year relocating beavers from private land where they were a nuisance to public land where they can create wetland habitat that is vital to wildlife and people.

“The film shows an ecological project come full circle,” said Bernie McHugh, a dedicated birdwatcher and secretary for the club. “Once the beavers are relocated to public lands all throughout Teton County they can help restore wetland, notably for trumpeter swans.”

Ah another feel-good solution! Move the problem out of our creeks and streams and throw them into the mountains! Maybe they’ll survive and do some good and maybe they’ll die or get eaten by a  coyote but either way it’s a win-win for us. Because nothing is going to be nibbling our hedgerows.

Drew seems like a nice enough fellow, and his intentions seem of the right kind. But I’m a little worried that a grown man whose job it is to solve beaver problems that doesn’t spend any time building flow devices or protecting culverts. He also shockingly says that he’s never seen a beaver chew through “netting” before (???) or eat grass (!!!). So I’m going to assume his beaver information has room to grow. Here, I’ll help get him started. This is a yearling chewing grass.

If you can’t make it out to Jackson Hole for the premiere, you can watch the whole thing online here. The title alone set my teeth on edge for most of it, but there’s some lovely video and footage of a beaver making a scent mound which is worth the price of admission by itself. Another attempt to copy Jari Osborne’s hard work, I’ll warrant. Drew is no Sherri Tippie, that’s for sure.

BBC.Natural.World.2014.Beavers.Behaving.Badly… by i-teach-U

Let me know what you think. My strongest impression is that Jackson hole is an insanely beautiful place with a lot of beaver sissies for residents. But that’s just me.

I worked longer than I should on this yesterday but was very happy with the result. I really thought Enos Mills’ great writing needed to be revisited, so I selected a few choice lines from my favorite chapter, along with a handful of select photos. I gave up on the idea of having a better voice read this because the  timing needed was a little weird anyway and I’m not smart enough to change it. I really hope you watch this. Or at least read the chapter.

ACapture final selfish note urging us all to wish for rain, or at least cooler temperatures to help calm the fray. The Butte fire is burning the hell out of Heidi’s favorite place, and grew so rapidly yesterday the firefighters actually lost ground. The land my parents brought when I was 7 and built a home to retire on for the last 25 years isn’t out of the woods yet. As a child I built and maintained a coral there to keep in my imaginary horses, and it is the place that Jon and I escaped to the snowy night we were married, lo these many years ago. The fire is mostly expanding away from our property but there is one wicked lick at the back that is marching up the canyon towards the wild place I know best in the world, so keep your fingers crossed.

It’s been a year for catastrophes, and sometimes that is contagious.

Friendly photos

Posted by heidi08 On September - 7 - 2015Comments Off on Friendly photos
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—
 Robert Louis Stevenson (The Swing)

You won’t wonder at all why I started this post with that particular poem of my childhood when you see this recent photo of the Napatopia beaver habitat. Guess who went out and purchased a drone? This photo was taken at 105 feet.

Just to get you oriented the green part is Tulocay creek, and to the left of that is the Westin Suites and parking lot. The water flows towards the bridge. About a third up on the left is that beautiful lodge of theirs smartly anchored to the dead tree. About a third from the end near the bridge you can see a stand of tulles where the dam is. And then the mostly dry creek continues on with plant and brush growth after that.

Beaver dam from 105 feet

Tulocay beaver pond at 105 feet: Rusty Cohn

This really shows the many benefits that an urban beaver pond can give to a constrained city creek. Flora, Fauna and biodiversity boosts galore. Thanks Rusty, for sharing the results of your new toy with us. We only wish Martinez still had a dam we could talk you into photographing next!

Speaking of amazing photos not taken by us, this photo series was posted on Facebook this morning by Glenn Hori, an old friend of the Martinez Beavers. He wisely chose them in honor of Labor Day. He says they were taken on July 16. Such a hard working beaver! It breaks my heart to think these photos are Jr. bravely doing her job right up until the end. But it’s good to remember what a fantastic craftsman she was. (Click twice on the photos to enlarge.)

I’ve got one more picture to share, and that is the result of many hours labor on my part. I made this as a graphic to use with Audubon, starting with the silhouettes of our beavers and adding everything else in layers. I can’t begin to describe to you the amount of work something like this takes with my hokey little graphics program, but I’m proud of the result. How many bird species do you recognize?

Audubon graphic

The California Beaver Coalition

Posted by heidi08 On September - 4 - 20151 COMMENT

Great news from our beaver friends! I love opening the paper to read an article about beaver advocacy that isn’t in Martinez. We just need 100’s more of these. It’s a big state.

Sherri Hasenfas

Sheri Hartstein Sierra Wildlife Coalition

Beaver population thriving at Lake Tahoe thanks to local volunteers

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Beavers at Lake Tahoe are faring better than they were just a few years ago, thanks to the efforts of Sherry Guzzi and her posse of volunteers, collectively known as the Sierra Wildlife Coalition.

 As is the case with many people who become passionate defenders of wildlife, Sherry’s involvement began with the death of a beaver family that had become dear to her and countless other residents and visitors to Kings Beach during the fall of 2010.

This family of four beavers, two adults and two young, had built themselves a lodge in Griff Creek, which runs near Highway 267 in Kings Beach, before flowing beneath the road and into Lake Tahoe.

Obviously, we can’t allow homes, roads or businesses to be flooded so what is to be done? Sadly, in this instance, authorities decided to remove the lodge and kill the beavers.

Even more sadly, this particular dam did not threaten any structures, as the dam was only one foot high and any resulting overflow would have gone into the nearby culvert.

 The killing of the beavers did not sit well with the humans who had become enamored with the animals from watching their daily activities.

 Sherry, along with co-founder Mary Long, created the Sierra Wildlife Coalition with the purpose of sierrawildlifeserving as champions of wildlife, and particularly beavers.

Ooooh I love a good creation story! I remember the Griff creek beavers especially because Worth A Dam donated our first beaver management scholarship towards fixing the problem and our own Lory went to Tahoe to educate support. Ahh memories. Seems like yesterday.


Sherry and Ted Guzzi in their native habitat.

Go read the whole thing which ends with a touching poem by Mary’s daughter. SWC under Sherry’s leadership has done outstanding beaver work, with Ted installing flow devices, teams exhibiting and educating at events, and all making sure beaver decisions are made with the right information. Sherry just gave her first beaver presentation for the public at Taylor Creek the day before the beaver festival! It was extremely well received and she still managed to drive down and exhibit in Martinez the next morning. Now that’s dedication!

It’s not only in Tahoe where beaver friends are at work. Nearby in Napa they’re busy too.

‘Wild Napa’ lecture series to focus on beavers

The “Wild Napa” lecture series continues this month with a special presentation on beavers. Hosted by the Napa County Resource Conservation District, the event will be held next Wednesday, Sept. 9.

 Coverbrockkateed will be the history and ecology of beavers and how they are helping urban and rural communities across the state to restore watersheds, recover endangered species, and increase climate change resiliency. Brock Doman and Kate Lundquist of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center will share their research to re-evaluate the historic range of beaver in California, and discuss how you can contribute to the Bring Bakateworkingck the Beaver campaign.

Optional guided tour of the active beaver dams on Napa Creek. To join this tour, meet behind the Firefighter’s Museum at 1201 Main St.

Following the tour, the talk will start at 7 p.m. at The Black and White Collective (enter through Napa Bookmine at 964 Pearl St.). Attendance is free and no registration is needed.

Napa is in for a treat. And Napa beavers should get ready to  have their virtues extolled. I think Rusty and Robin will be there for sure. And Cheryl said she was planning to try and attend. It’s a great opportunity to spread the word and learn about beavers from the folks that are working closely with Fish and Wildlife to nudge our beaver policies forward. Just in case you can’t make it, here’s a nice introduction to Brock, who has a dynamic, biologic and stream oriented speaking style that you just can’t mistake.

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