Archive for the ‘Beaver Behavior’ Category

Beaver treats

Posted by heidi08 On January - 24 - 2015ADD COMMENTS

 Beaver making an Arizona comeback


A beaver lodge built into the bank of the San Pedro River indicates the presence of the aquatic rodents, which were reintroduced to the river in 1999. About 50 beavers inhabit the San Pedro National Conservation Area.

“A hundred-and-fifty years ago, it was called the Beaver River because there were so many beavers,” said Dutch Nagle, former president of the Friends of the San Pedro River, an organization that promotes the conservation of the river.

Thanks to reintroduction efforts by the Bureau of Land Management beginning in 1999, an estimated 50 beavers now roam the waters of the San Pedro. The beavers have built dozens of dams that slow the river’s flow and create ponds. Along with raising the water table near the river, the slack water provides increased habitat for a variety of plant and animal species.

 One of the species that prospers from the beavers’ tireless dam-building is the lowland leopard frog. “Historically, I’m sure there was a very close relationship between beavers and leopard frogs,” said Mike Sredl, who leads the ranid frog projects for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Along with environmental factors such as tree density and the availability of food, beaver behavior can have a significant impact on the number of birds along a river.

“The beaver contribute most in defining how many birds are in an environment, and the reason for that is they change the environment,” said Van Riper, who is the co-author of a study that examines the effects the reintroduced beavers have had on various bird species.

Great work from our beaver friends on the San Pedro! It is lovely to read about the difference beaver can make – especially in arid land. Of course the article takes time to whine a bit about how there are also more bullfrogs and non-natives but I don’t think anyone really takes that seriously anymore. I know I don’t. It’s like saying we shouldn’t repair our roads because it makes it easier for thieves to get away from the police.

The thing we want matters infinitely more than the thing we don’t.

In case, you, like me, are dying to look at Van Riper’s bird study, the whole thing is available here. It’s a very interesting read, but I think overly cautious about the benefits of beavers. For example, they note they “can’t conclude whether” the increase in biodiversity near beaver activity represents beaver effects, or just beaver CHOOSING richer habitat to settle in.

(Sheesh. Because you know how those lazy opportunistic beavers are -  always picking the nicest neighborhoods to move in. Grr.) The report generously concludes that at least beavers did not appear to make anything worse.

Beaver reintroduction did not appear to have detrimental effects on any species of conservation concern and, in fact there was evidence that a breeding bird community is more abundant and more diverse where beavers were present.

Mighty white of you, I’m sure.


Now for an unmitigated treat, check your insulin levels first, because this is too sweet to be believed. The kit is at Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma WA and her grape-testing made TIME this morning. Her name is Hazel.

Still, if you think its cute when beavers in zoos eat grapes, you should see what it looks like when wild beavers eat strawberries.

Yearling eating Strawberries - Photo Cheryl Reynolds

Yearling eating Strawberries – Photo Cheryl Reynolds

Nativity Parade in UK?

Posted by heidi08 On January - 19 - 2015Comments Off

Beavers may get UK citizenship

BEAVERS could be declared a native British animal — for the first time in 400 years — after scientists found that at least three populations have become established in rivers from Scotland to Devon.

 The biggest group of 150 animals live on the Tay, where, as in the River Otter in Devon, they have become a tourist attraction. Both are thought to have been illegal reintroductions.  Another population is also growing at Knapdale in Scotland — the only one based on licensed releases.

The government had planned to classify beavers as non-natives under the Infrastructure Bill. This would have made future unlicensed releases illegal and prevented beavers from gaining protection in areas where they have become established.

Now Defra, the environment ministry, has said it will consider declaring them natives, subject to a study being carried out on the Knapdale population’s integration with other land uses.

What? DEFRA might call beavers native? After all of England spent centuries of extinction following centuries of economic harassment, it might at last recognize their rightful place? Be still my heart!

Oh right, it already is.

Wait, are beavers native to the United Kingdom. This is from the Aberdeen Bestiary, 12th century AD. The illuminated manuscript descended from the Royal Library of Henry the VIII to the university on the east highlands of Scotland.

CaptureDe castore. Est animal quod dicitur castor mansuetum nimis, cuius testiculi medicine sunt aptissimi, de quo dicit Phisiologus, quia cum vena torem se insequentem cog novit, morsu testiculos sibi abscidit, et in faciem vena toris eos proicit et sic fugiens  evadit.

Of the beaver There is an animal called the beaver, which is extremely gentle; its testicles are highly suitable for medicine. Physiologus says of it that, when it knows that a hunter is pursuing it, it bites off its testicles and throws them in the hunter’s face and, taking flight, escapes.

Laying aside the obvious impossibility of this fanciful account, (Given the fondness males of any species seem to feel for their testicles) we can at least establish that the United Kingdom once had access to beavers, because they were, in fact, native, and if something WAS native, that means it IS native, and you dam well know it, so stop trying to pretend like it’s a big decision or that you’re being generous by calling it native. It’s as native as humans are on British soil, or more so I’d wager if we were looking at the fossil record.

So there.

CaptureFur- Bearer Defender’s Interview with Michael Runtz, author and photographer of Dam Builders.

Some unexpected rescues

Posted by heidi08 On January - 15 - 2015Comments Off

44-pound beaver captured at Tempe Town Lake


Click to go to video

Stay tuned for more exciting wildlife break thru’s from AZ Central, like deformed turtle body almost entirely engulfed with shell and 13 foot tall giraffe discovered to be too awkwardly shaped to reach water!   Thank goodness the team was on hand to rescue this little ‘fat mess’. I hope they found something actually WRONG with this beaver if they end up keeping him for a month.

Maybe I’m being too hard on Arizona. Just because we here in Martinez know that 44 pounds is the weight of a subadult, why should they?

Here’s a slightly smarter wildlife rescue from Virgina. Seems a beaver of almost exactly the same size was chewing a tree that fell vertically on his tail and trapped him there.


Between a Tree and a Hard Place

When I got there, I pulled around the corner and saw this small woman just pacing back and forth in front of a large truck; as soon as I pulled in the driveway, she ran up to my window and told me to jump in her truck because she didn’t think that my car could make it through the field without getting stuck. The setting was a wooded hillside, slippery from rain the day before. I parked my car, grabbed my capture gloves, a couple of towels, and my transport crate and off we went. We drove through two fields over to her husband’s truck, where the beaver was trapped under a tree next to the river.

I climbed over a short barbed wire fence and got my first glimpse of what I was up against. First of all, the poor little guy was not so little – the beaver weighed about 45 pounds. Knowing how some beavers grow to nearly twice that weight, I was fairly lucky on that count. Somehow, as this beaver had chewed through a 50-foot tall tree; the tree had “fallen” and landed on the beaver’s tail! The tree was still standing up vertically, about a foot away from the stump and was directly on top of the beaver’s tail, pinning him to the ground.

Poor little beaver! Fortunately for him the rescuer got the neighbor with a tractor to lift the tree so the beaver could be wrapped up in towels and brought to the vet. (If you read the story you’ll understand why I’m grateful his ‘first idea’ didn’t work – pulling straight back with the tractor!) The vet determined that the hardy beaver needed only single suture and was ready to be released the next day. Hurray for Virginia wildlife rescues!

Tomorrow we have a Very Important Meeting with the state agency that issued the most beaver depredation permits in California. Thanks to all our helpers and special thanks to Robin from Napa who got this started. Wish us Luck! But honestly, even if it goes spectacuarly badly, Lord knows it will still be the most informative meeting about beavers they’ve ever had.

Raise your hand if you think Worth A Dam’s meeting with Fish and Game is a strange marriage. Oh and Jean saw two beavers last night at the secondary dam at 5:15, Wishing us good luck?

Even Steven with Beaver Stories

Posted by heidi08 On January - 12 - 2015Comments Off

Two steps forward, two steps back. I don’t think we’re moving at all. But I guess good news takes a ton more work to get published, so it matters more. We should be content to see the positive paired with a couple stinkers. Especially in January. Let’s be good stoics and save the good news for last. Before the sugar we need two spoonfuls of bitter beaver ignorance from Massachusetts.

City gets approval to trap beavers causing flooding in South Lowell

LOWELL — A bucktoothed menace reared its furry head in South Lowell last spring, turning Charles Tamulonis’ backyard into a mosquito-infested swamp.

“There’s always this thing about ‘save the beavers,’” Tamulonis said. “But it’s the greatest nuisance in the world depending on where you live.”

 Soon after the dam appeared, he began writing to every city official he could think of. For almost a month, nothing happened,

 But eventually he spoke with Ralph Snow, commissioner of the Department of Public Works, and the city embarked on the arduous task of securing the proper permitting to breach a dam and trap the beavers — not to mention actually taking on the dam itself.

 It took more than five months for the city to secure the proper approval. During that time, a trapper caught 12 beavers behind Tamulonis’ property, some of the weighing more than 50 pounds.

 You asked public works last? I would have asked them first. They are notorious for hating beavers! Lessons learned I guess. So you killed a dozen beavers. 2 parents, 5 yearlings and 5 kits. Now the water won’t drip into your basement any more. Never mind that Mike Callahan of Beaver Solutions is 100 miles away, and could have fixed this problem for the long term. Never mind that he just emailed that he gave a TALK last year to the Lowell Conservation Commission. You wanted those 12 beavers dead, and now they are.

Je Suis Castor?

(Mike just added that 12 beavers would be HIGHLY unusual for an urban setting. 5-6 is more common.  Sometimes trappers lie to inflate their fees. Which is pretty comforting, but I still need to post this:)

On to the next lie:

 Towns to discuss mosquito control budget

 The Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project also runs a program to breach beaver dams, which cause rivers and streams to become stagnant and attract mosquitoes.

 “Those impede water flow,” said Oram.

 The $2 million budget, which is a 2.1 percent increase over the $1.9 million fiscal 2015 budget, includes a $20,000 increase for pesticides, garden tools and supplies, $10,000 more for spraying equipment upgrades and $70,000 more in salary increases.

 Obviously they need more money. It’s hard work thinking up lies that good! And all those mosquitoes won’t kill themselves! I suppose if Northboro is good for the money they should ask for the moon and see what happens. It’s not like anyone will point out that if more fish and invertebrates are found in beaver ponds, they’ll be lots more trying to eat that larvae. Why worry your pretty head about details like that?

Bring us some good news. I’ve had my fill of liars and murderers this morning. Okay, how about this from New Hampshire?

Beavers help environment, but conflicts with humans can arise

Moose and deer, wood frogs and salamanders, mergansers and great blue herons, otters and weasels – all thrive in the habitats created by beavers.

“I think of them as great little wildlife managers,” said Dave Anderson, a naturalist and director of education at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Beaver is a “keystone species,” Anderson said. “If we were to eliminate their activity, we’d lose wetlands that are critical habitats.”

 Anderson, who also co-writes the “Forest Journal” column in the New Hampshire Sunday News, said killing all the animals in an area isn’t a long-term solution to beaver problems.

 ”You can’t trap them out of existence,” he said. “If you make a gap and the habitat’s suitable, there will be (other) beavers moving in.”

How much do you love Dave right now? Hurray for beaver wisdom in New Hamshire! Dave is also a forest columnist for the New Hamshire journal, so he has a great platform to preach the beaver gospel. But he needs to be a little less passive with his solutions for land-owners I think:

 As long as a well or septic system isn’t threatened, homeowners can just wait out the beavers, Tate said. Once they exhaust the available food supply, they’ll move somewhere else, and new ones won’t move in for another seven years or so.

 Well, I think I will write Dave about fast-acting solutions that will let land owners cooperate with beavers. In the meantime thank you SO MUCH for your great promotional efforts! I think this is probably the VERY BEST article we have had on beavers from the state.

Let’s conclude with some very cheerful beaver reporting from Kent England. I can’t embed the video but if you click on the photo it will take you to where you can watch three minutes of the delightful story unfolding Enjoy!


 Beaver Colony Flourishes in Kent

“We’ve never seen anything like this”

Posted by heidi08 On January - 9 - 2015Comments Off

Apparently this was such an unexpected calamity in Woodinville that there are no fewer than 20 articles on the subject this morning. Traffic stopped because of an actual beaver blocking an actual culvert! That never (always) happens! I suppose this beaver built his dam far inside the culvert, where it was harder to remove. (Pretty smart actually. More privacy AND protection). Valiant Washington Transportation Crews worked all day using grappling hooks and security lines. Reporters stood by faithfully reporting on their every progress. “He’s inside the pipe. We have first contact”.

Honesstly, you would think they were free climbing El Capitan’s Dawn Wall.

At least its not as bad as Hamilton, Ontario where, out of the blue,  unexpected beavers are suddenly taking established trees for no reason at all!

MAHONEY: A trail of beaver dam-age

The beaver finds many trees at hand. Along the Waterfront Trail, for instance.  So now we have a problem; not so horribly divisive as, say, the one-way/two-way street debate over which Hamilton families have torn themselves asunder, but it’s a puzzler. We’re losing arbour by the harbour-ful.

 ”He’s incredible,” says John Smith, half admiringly, half resentfully, pointing out a bare patch in the beautiful screen of trees between trail path and water.

 ”Look at the gap he’s cleared away.”

 I count 12 stumps in a four-metre stretch, but everywhere along the trail one finds ample evidence of the beaver’s xylophagic efficiency (sit back down; it means “wood-eating”).

Beavers chewing trees in winter?  Say it isn’t so! I mean you cover the beaver beat for a few years, and you think you’ve hardened to the horror of it all. You think nothing can penetrate that thick skin you’ve developed after all the damage and brutalization. But then something like this happens and just throws everything into chaos.

First the culvert, and now this!

There must be some way to solve this problem. Some clue to a solution. But where? The article kindly mentions that walkers like the beavers so killing them isn’t an option. But what else can they do? If there was only some indication of a solution that they could go on, just some hint  or shred of evidence of what might possibly work,

Too bad the article was only published with this ole’ photo.

 BUSY BEAVERS John Rennison,The Hamilton Spectator John Smith marvels at the work of our national emblem, the beaver. But as an avid user of our water front trail, he's noticed a drastic decrease in the tree population along the shore and islands of the trail because of beaver damage.

What will we do with the other four hours?

Posted by heidi08 On January - 8 - 2015Comments Off

American Beaver Special for 20 Hours Straight

American Beaver Airs from 7 a.m. Monday,
Feb. 2, 2015, to 3 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jan. 7, 2015) The groundhog is a big player on its big day, appearing for a few seconds on Groundhog Day to tell us how long winter will last, then disappearing for an entire year. Now Nat Geo WILD gives another member of the rodent family its due, dedicating an entire day to the American Beaver. In the grand tradition of Bill Murray’s classic holiday movie Groundhog Day, Nat Geo WILD will replay its American Beaver special for 20 hours straight, airing from 7 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, to 3 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 3. (For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at

Just 20 hours? How will we occupy ourselves the other four? Oh, right. Follow that link on the left margin and watch Jari Osborn’s PBS documentary.


It’s nice to see someone celebrating beaver. They certainly deserve it. And besides, we just found out that National Geographic has NEVER had a beaver on its cover. Ever. So they’re certainly due. If you’ve never seen “American Beaver” you’re in for treat. Here’s a glimpse but you can watch more snippets here:

You just know that they saw the PBS  documentary and the NYTimes article and the AP article and thought, hmm how can we ride on these successful coattails?coatWell all I can say is it’s about time. Now if they would only cover this next  kind of story. Too bad they don’t mean the OTHER kind of beaver bounty.

Increase in bounty brings more beavers

FOREST CITY, IA – More beaver tails have arrived at the Winnebago County Auditor’s Office the past several weeks since the county raised its bounty on beavers.  Deputy auditor Kris Wempen said the county has paid about $600 in bounty since the bounty was raised to $50 on Oct. 28.


Posted by heidi08 On January - 1 - 2015Comments Off

Happy 2015! We can celebrate the new year with some great beaver stories and two fantastic images. The first is from Alberta and made me smile.

 Broken beaver dam in Ont. leads to fines for Alberta company

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says it has fined an Alberta mining company for breaking a beaver dam near Savant Lake, in northwestern Ontario.

Pacific Iron Ore Corporation of Calgary pleaded guilty in court on Dec. 9 and was fined $1,500 for unlawfully destroying a beaver dam, according to a news release issued by the ministry on Wednesday.

 The incident happened in 2013.

 That’s when the ministry said Pacific Iron Ore contracted an excavation company to remove a beaver dam near Six Mile Lake Road so it could drill in the area. Breaking the dam caused the road to flood.

Ahh I love it when people get fined for removing beaver dams! Especially when they’re mininng companies! Apparently you can just send a contractor to rip out a dam and call it a day. It wasn’t a very big fine though. I’m sure the company made lots more than 1500 dollars after they got rid of the obstacle.

Goal for 2015? Bigger fines!

This story from Devon was even better:

OTTERY: Community rallies to back beaver appeal

The creatures’ plight has stirred residents into action and the Devon Wildlife Trust says it has received overwhelming support from local people in its efforts to ensure the family of rare animals is returned safe and sound after testing.

In recent weeks a renowned local wildlife artist has donated proceeds from the sale of a unique portrait to the trust, and youngsters across the parish have been learning about the animals and in school lessons.

 The fundraising appeal was also given a high profile boost by TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham, who took to Twitter to highlight the appeal to his 112,000 followers.

Artist Emma Bowring, who was named among the finalists in the BBC’s Wildlife Artist of the Year in 2012, produced a one-off oil painting of one of the animals.

The portrait, titled ‘Eager Beaver’, was developed from a photograph taken at Escot, near Ottery St Mary.

Whoo Whoo! Go Devon! There isn’t anything better than a city protecting its beavers. We should know. I’m really starting to think those Devon beavers have a fighting chance. Oh and that Emma Bowring donation discussed at the end of the article is the SAME Emma who just donated to our festival. (Thanks Emma) Her painting drew 700 pounds, which is almost 1000 dollars which will be used for the court case to keep beavers. Great work Devon, and Emma. I’m sure her stunning sketch at the festival will be popular too!

As will this, just donated yesterday by Gene Sherrill. It’s called “Sunset at beaver pond” Check out those fallen trees in the center. What a heavenly view!

CaptureGene is a talented photographer from Indiana. He’s sending it as a 24 x 36 canvas ready for hanging.Thank you Gene! And now we know there’s at least one beaver supporter in Indiana!

Finally, I happened to be hunting down someone  who stole Cheryl’s photo without permission yesterday, and came across this which I found literally years ago but never saved and didn’t know how to find again. It is a stunning uncredited photo, and I’m going to guess its European in origin.

How could anyone  NOT love an animal that does this with its young?