Archive for the ‘Who’s Killing Beavers Now?’ Category

Turkey before Halloween?

Posted by heidi08 On October - 25 - 20142 COMMENTS


Beaver comeback continues in Windsor-Essex on Turkey Creek

Nearly a century after they all but disappeared, beavers continue to make a comeback in Windsor-Essex County.  The latest sighting has come in LaSalle, along Turkey Creek.

 Ron Harway found the beaver in his backyard.

 Earlier this year, Harway noticed the bark from a tree 60 centimetres in diameter in his backyard had been torn off. Now, wood chips lie in a pile on the ground.

Let me say, if that picture is your beaver, he’s a teeny tiny insect of a beaver. CaptureLooking at the later photo of the chewed tree I’d say it looks more like  porcupine chewing or muskrat, just not much damage to show for all that gnawing. I suppose if it is a tiny kit who has no idea what he’s doing that means someone killed his parents and he’s an orphan, that’s IF its a beaver I mean. Which I doubt. Anyway Ron needn’t worry. he has a smart Turkey biologists nearby who know all about them.

 Biologist Dan Lebedyk with the Essex Region Conservation Authority says more beavers may not be a good thing in Essex County.

 Fifty years ago, the region had some of the lowest amount of tree cover in Southern Ontario. It’s been a long, slow recovery.

 ”So our resources are getting better but it’s not good to have an animal like this because we don’t have the actual resources to sustain a [beaver] population yet,” he said. Beavers can cut down up to 200 trees per year.

 Lebedyk is also concerned about the local watershed.”Because all of our water courses are basically drainage systems for our agricultural industry, we don’t want to see dams created on our water courses. it would create flooding and damage property,” he said.

I feel fairly certain Dan might get a letter from me. And in the meantime you should really amuse yourself by watching some footage of beavers that Napa has been smart enough to welcome. How wonderful to have good friends in Beaver places! The first is from Robin Ellison and shows a young beaver chewing on the branches of a willow tree they brought down the night before.

The second is from Rusty Cohn who has been experimenting with a trail camera to catch work at night. Notice the two beavers on the right and a muskrat or mink at the left hand corner of the screen swimming by at the end.

Three scoops of stupid

Posted by heidi08 On October - 22 - 20143 COMMENTS

Every now and then we pass through a news cycle that is so full of beaver benefits and so absent of stupidity I begin to feel like we’ve finally turned an important corner – that all across the country people are understanding more about the good beavers do and why they should solve problems without trapping.

Then there’s a day like today when I remember that people from one side of this country to the other (and everywhere in between) are still deeply committed to their stupidity about beavers. And it shows zero sign of evaporating.

We can start with the tail bounty they’re increasing in Winnebago County in Iowa. From now on, every person who brings in a cut tail will get 50.00$ instead of 25.00. Don’t worry, they have to prove it was from that county. I don’t know how. Maybe the beavers in Iowa have license plates?

Dorchester Struggles With Beaver Troubles

Then we can march 1000 miles across the state to Salem, Maryland where they’re tossing around ecological phrases to justify killing beavers by aiming the USDA at them. These are my favorite quotes.

“They’re damaging the ecological forests, as well as the timber value, because no one is going to be able to go in there and harvest that timber now,” said Libby Nagel of Salem.

“It’s killing the trees and the branches that absorb the nutrients. It’s killing a lot of habitat, mainly causing flooding in fields,” said Eberspacher.

Ecological forests? Absorbing nutrients? Did someone drop out of college after ecology 101?  We should all be reminded of Alexander Pope’s Essay on criticism.

“A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.”

Apparently someone stopped reading before they sobered up.

Capture1Click on the photo if you want to see the newscast. The only good news from Dorchester is that when I first saw the story last night they were running it with my very favorite  KIT PHOTO by CHERYL!  I summoned all my doctoral indignation and wrote the station manager that if they were going to rifle through our website and STEAL anything they wanted they might at least have read the information while they were there.

This morning it’s magically swapped for an NPS photo. I thought it might be, so I took this screen shot last night.

changedAnd just when you thought the world couldn’t be any more ridiculous about beavers, there’s this.

Ravens, beaver cause power outages in Willow

According to MEA spokeswoman Julie Estey, the main outage — first reported on the MEA Facebook page just after 11 a.m. — cut power to roughly 3,700 customers. Estey estimates the second incident temporarily left fewer than a dozen people in the dark.

 “It was actually caused by two ravens,” Estey said. “They were actually in a substation, and they took out one of the breakers.”

 The Douglas substation where the breaker was located covers much of Willow all the way north to Talkeetna. Estey says the outage was first detected at 10:56 a.m., with power restored by 12:18 p.m.

 A second, smaller outage reported between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. affected fewer than a dozen people on Willow Fishhook Road. While crews were quickly able to repair the line, the area was within the substation’s coverage area — which meant customers there lost power twice.

 “A beaver cut down a tree and it actually fell onto the line,” Estey said. “So they got their power restored, and then they got hit by the ravens.


“Made beavers” vs. “Beavers that have Got it Made”.

Posted by heidi08 On October - 21 - 2014Comments Off

I came across this video the other day and thought you might find interesting too. It’s a fairly concise description of the fur trade – well, one PART of the fur trade. Calling HBC the fur trade is like calling Shell the oil industry. Remember that there were many other companies all doing the same thing at once.

It’s amazing any survived at all. Lets not think any more about ‘Made Beavers”. Let’s think about “beavers that have got it made”.




Wonderments of the East Bay Celebrating 80 years of EBRP

 The East Bay Regional Parks abound in wonderments: animals, plants, sounds, geological formations, histories, and languages that stimulate our curiosity and expand our capacity for awe. In exquisite, lyrical essays, Sylvia Linsteadt and Malcolm Margolin—with help from their friends—revel in these wonderments.

Our complimentary copy arrived yesterday with 4 pages of the Martinez Beaver story. They declined to use Cheryl’s excellent photos (or my accurate writing, ahem) but gave a gallant tale of civic response and public interest. The story  puts Martinez in a community-building light and says we had people from all over coming just to see our beavers. I remain fairly picky about the details. (If you’ll remember the original chapter had said Martinez brought in a “Team of engineers” to fix the flooding problem and I was terrified everyone would think it was expensively hard work  saving beavers.) I managed to get that wording fixed, but sadly the chapter still said mom had three babies and we discovered the first ever tulle perch in Alhambra Creek, which makes me mortified that my name was dropped in the passage without a corresponding footnote saying, “Heidi never said this and didn’t write it.”

A reasonable woman would be content that it makes it clear that the beavers had a positive effect on our creek and grateful that they sent me a copy. I strive to be such a woman. I’m not worried about the idea of giving EBRP credit for our beavers, (since they’re on city land), because I crisply remember a lively conversation I had with park wizard Hulet Hornbeck before he died, where he told me that they had been working for 50 years to clean up the Marina so that the arrival of the beavers would even be possible. And since he was wise enough to see the beaver family as a compliment,  I heartily believed him.

It’s a very nice looking book and a trove of local treasures. I know you want to pick up your own copy  here, or wait for the silent auction!


Now you’ve done your history homework you deserve a treat. R.E. from Napa sent this yesterday and it’s very lovely. I won’t even bother telling you to enjoy it, because I know you will.

lorna and curtAnd finally a HUGE thanks to our friends at Safari West. My niece just got married in the Redwoods and since my wedding present to her had been an overnight stay at our favorite wilderness adventure in the wine country, they made sure she and her new hubby had an awesome time. The highlight came  last night when Kimberly Robertson met the couple after their tour and dinner to take them for a tower feeding that left my well-spoken niece speechless.  Thanks so much Safari West for making so many people so happy, and don’t forget to remember them if you’re looking for the PERFECT special day for someone in your family!


Time Travel and Beavers

Posted by heidi08 On October - 20 - 2014Comments Off

Believe it or not, this program aired this very Saturday on the Children’s BBC program “Wild”. It was obviously filmed before DEFRA had made up its mind to ruin everything so there is no mention of beavers being illegally released or carrying parasites. It’s just an irresistible story of beaver adventure. I’m guessing someone at the BBC got a memo Monday morning and scrubbed it because if you search for the program online you get this.

CaptureFortunately for us, stalwart beaver protector Peter Smith had already uploaded it to Youtube and we get to watch it first hand. I think I have a crush on host Naomi Wilkinson, because her enthusiasm for beavers is entirely infectious. Meanwhile pay attention to the language. This is alarmingly accurate for beaver-TV! If I were you I’d watch it today because tomorrow British government television might  come lumbering along and swallow the youtube version next.

Wasn’t that amazing? The other amazing thing that came across my desk this weekend (besides a memory card problem, did you know your computer can actually send telegraphic messages and beep to tell you why it broken? Me neither!) was the Moorhen Marsh Study done in 1998 on the beavers at Mt. View Sanitation. For years we’ve been running into the odd person at displays who has mentioned that they were on the volunteer beaver study group between the Lindsay Museum and Mt. View Sanitation. I was fascinated by this and stunned that no information or observations about this study existed or ever found its way to our beaver sub-committee. That is until Kelly Davidson was cleaning out her desk and sent us this.

CaptureThere’s a description of their methods and the some 15 volunteers who participated, as well as an excellent species list of 26  in all. It doesn’t say much that is startling about beavers and sadly there are no photos attached, but it did have a description of the behaviors they observed, all but one of which we see in Alhambra Creek. See if you can spot they outlier?

Beavers were observed swimming, chewing, diving, eating reeds, laying on their backs to eat, carrying stick or weeds in their mouth, patrolling or circling the ponds, shaking their heads, wiggling their ears, rubbing their faces with their paws and splashing.

Those beavers built a full lodge in the marsh and two kits were observed at the site. What I love best is thinking that one of those kits was probably one of our original parents. Bear with me here, but those beavers didn’t live in the bank and none of our 22 beavers have ever built a lodge but our original mom. In fact she built two in the span of three years and no one has done it since she died. This would make her 12 when she died, which is a nice life span for a wild beaver. So I’m going to assume it was mom that grew up in Moorhen Marsh. I’m reading this report as if I were looking at her baby pictures, which is a lot of fun. I will upload it to the website or you can read it here yourself.


Bad News, Good News, Beaver News

Posted by heidi08 On October - 16 - 2014Comments Off

Cochrane’s beaver management has its challenges

The Town of Cochrane is asking Cochranites who peruse the pathways to be mindful of signage indicating beaver management (trapping) in areas throughout the Ranche Site and Glenbow this fall season.

See? I told you the phrase “beaver management” is a euphemism for murder. Like “Ethnic Cleansing”,  “the Jewish Problem”, or “Manifest Destiny.”

According to Gerry Murphy, parks manager for the town, when town staff observes beaver damming occurring, they reach out to town-contracted Eagle Creek Wildlife Control; the town has managed beavers within the town for many years.

 Eagle Creek sends out licensed trappers to identify areas to set live and lethal traps and the town assists with signage.

“When the beavers are trapped, they come out and remove them,” said Murphy, adding that people should avoid going near the traps and keep dogs leashed in areas where signage indicates beaver trapping is ongoing.

Ron Hanson started Eagle Creek some 20 years ago, followed by 30 years of service as a Fish and Wildlife officer.

He is no stranger to beavers, also known as ‘the largest North American rodent’, and the extensive damage they can cause — including damming culverts, softening road beds and railroad tracks and removing trees.

Hanson said his trappers set both live and lethal traps but that beavers are managed through euthanization — which he said is the most humane form of management.

“From a moral standpoint, moving (relocating) beavers at this time of the year is just not an option,” he said, explaining that the beaver population is at an all-time high.

If there’s one thing I value, it’s the moral teachings of a trapper and ex-game warden.

Never mind that Cochrane is about three hours away from Dr. Glynnis Hood who is the premiere beaver researcher  in the entire world. Never mind that her students are doing beaver management in Alberta and you could be next if you weren’t so beaver-dam stubborn. Never mind that if you kept these beavers in your creeks using mitigation you’d never have to hire Ron again to solve this problem, because they’d be using their own territorial behaviors to keep others away. And you’d have more fish and wildlife (oh, and water) in your town.

Honestly, sometimes all I can think of is Gollum, writhing with pain at the elven ropes crying “It hurts us! [the beaver stupidity], it hurts us,’ hissed Gollum. `It freezes, it bites!”

“In my opinion, the town parks department has done a spectacular job of beaver management in the Town of Cochrane over the past 20 or more years,” said Guy Woods, director of Bow Valley Habitat Development.

 Hanson said they use the beaver carcasses to supply bear bait for local Fish and Wildlife officers.

facepalmThen there’s this today from Belllefontaine, Ohio. You just know this ended well.


Bellefontaine Police Officer Glenn Newland uses a snare to trap a beaver this morning in the parking lot of Fontaine Plaza shopping center, as Logan County Dog Warden Benji Avila waits with a trap and Police Sgt. Allen Shields holds another snare. The beaver had taken up residence around the shopping carts outside the Big Lots store,1760 S. Main St. The officers believed the beaver may have come from a pond behind the nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse where they intended to set the animal free. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)


The saving grace good news is that I got a surprise present from Fur-bearer Defenders Radio yesterday I just had to share. It’s part of the most recent episode with very famous psychologist and eminently published author Marc Berkoff (who writes about animal feelings and feelings for animals in Psychology Today among other places). The interview starts by proclaiming the successful launch of their podcast. The very cool part is that I had sent Dr. Berkoff my own modest interview a while back and he had politely responded that he was interested in listening but never had time to do it. (Poor Heidi. Not even a beaver bridesmaid!) I knew it would be relevant but even I can’t chase a man more thank twice, so I had given up making my debut as a beaver-saving psychologist.

But now Fur-bearer Defenders is doing it for me right in Marc’s episode!

three second1

You know you want to click on this…

Oh and he’s donating a copy of his new book “Rewilding our Hearts” for the silent auction.

50 states of beaver

Posted by heidi08 On October - 12 - 2014Comments Off

Old Fort fifth-graders learn all about water-dwelling rodent

 It isn’t every day that Old Fort fifth-grader Makayla Evans gets to dress up like a beaver.

 Garbed in goggles, a blanket, sound-proof headphones, a trash bag and a pair of gloves, the fifth-grader stood in front of her classmates wearing items that represented different traits the rodent found all across North Carolina possesses.

 “I’m going to hand Makayla this small canister of oil,” said Lake James State Park Ranger Kevin Bischof. “Can anyone guess what that represents on a beaver?”

 “It’s what keeps their coat waterproof,” said one student as Bischof continued handing Evans more items to go with her makeshift costume.

 Bischof’s presentation was part of an hour-long lesson in Joanna Graham’s science class at Old Fort Elementary, which was designed to help students better understand the American beaver.

Now we’re all read about the park system educational brilliance where they dress a kid in a fur coat and put on flippers and say ‘you’re a beaver’. But mind you this is North Carolina, which (if we’re being kind) has a fairly conflicted relationship with beavers, so we are really haooy 5th graders get beaver ed. But this blew me away:

“The beaver is a keystone species,” said Bischof. “If you remove them from an environment, it drastically changes. It takes constant maintenance to keep up a dam, and if a beaver is removed from the area then their dams will eventually deteriorate and change everything in the area where they’ve been.”

You can almost here the unspoken message “So tell you’re dad if he blows up that beaver dam it will be bad for everything”, can’t you? Of course I wrote Kevin right away. And our beaver friends in North Carolina to introduce them. Every now and then I start to think the landscape for beavers is changing all over the united states. Which is a pretty nice thought to have. Oh, and I sent along these:

archbrochurecharm 008


Researchers Say Beavers Are More Than Simple Pests

Yakima beaver relocation was on Scott Simon yesterday of NPR. More good promotion of beaver benefits, although I hate the headline. It reminds me of that scene in Tolkein’s the Two Towers, where the hobbits stumble on the oldest forest.

” What a pity! This shaggy old forest looked so different in the sunlight. I almost felt I liked the place.
‘Almost felt you liked the Forest! That’s good! That’s uncommonly kind of you,’ said a
strange voice. ‘Turn round and let me have a look at your faces. I almost feel that I dislike you both, but do not let us be hasty. Turn around!’ “

In addition to the usual beaver beatitudes there are a few choice quotes that I will offer without comment.


Click to Listen

We try to catch the whole colony because beavers have incredibly intense family social bonds. So without taking the whole family colony, they’re more likely to go right back to where they once were caught in searching for their family members.

[Regarding their naming of beavers] It helps us bring light to sometimes sad instances where family members may have gotten lost behind.



And now that we’re back from vacation I’m starting to think about Halloween decorations. We’re so lucky we may have just the thing! What do you think, too scary?



Why I’m Officially mad at Yakima…

Posted by heidi08 On October - 10 - 2014Comments Off

 A young beaver explores an old beaver lodge near Ellensburg, Washington, US. Its family was moved as part of a program to trap nuisance beavers and relocate them to the headwaters of the Yakima River where biologists hope their dams will help restore water systems used by salmon and people.


Apparently someone was so busy getting credit for saving beavers that no one bothered to get the WHOLE FAMILY. I know it’s hard knowing how many there are and not all beavers cooperate by climbing in the metal suitcases. But I assume that watching helps you get an idea of how many to catch. We certainly know how many beavers there are in Martinez, This youngster was left behind by mistake after the Rapture took away his family. No one came back for him and only the AP photographer cared enough to take the photo.Which was published on “This week in Wildlife in the Guardian“.

It’s Island of the Blue Dolphins for beavers. Do you think that will be in the Washington Post? I guess we should look on the bright side. When that yearling gets over the shock of abandonment he’ll probably start doing beaver things and then the property owner will kill him like he originally wanted to do. So he won’t be lonely any more at least.


We need cheering up after that story. Here’s a fun headline from Canada picked up by the CBC. I’m glad the councillor is against beaver trapping. But my favorite part is the photo. Because thinking of a beaver swimming on its back makes me giggle.

Screen shot 2014-10-10 at 8.05.49 AM


Projet [sic] Montreal borough councillor Sterling Downey says he recently learnt the city of Verdun reintroduced trapping to kill or relocate beavers on Nuns’ Island.

He says it’s cruel and is calling on his borough to stop its contract with trappers.

He says a more ethical method needs to be used.

In past reports, Verdun officials  said they were using trapping because beavers were destroying trees at an alarming rate and giving some residents headaches.

But some residents have also complained about them, particularly in 2008 after a dog was killed when it got stuck in a trap.

The SPCA says it wasn’t consulted before the trapping was introduced and has now offered Verdun officials other options, such as services from Fur Bearer Defenders, a non-profit with expertise in the subject.

It says trapping also has serious impacts on our ecosystem and it hopes Verdun will reconsider.

Verdun is just outside of Montreal in Canada and clearly our friends at Fur-bearer Defenders have made inroads there. I’m just going to sit and imagine coucillors opposed to trapping because its bad for the environment. And I think you should too.

I’ve been on vacation this week in Mendocino and the coastal lovely fogginess finally comes to an end today. So I spent yesterday making the annual movie of this year’s kit. Jon will never be able to listen to this song again, but I think you should enjoy! Do you realize this is the 20th kit we’ve had born in Martinez since we decided not to kill them?

And finally a big thank you to our musician friend GS from San Francisco who celebrated his mother’s well-lived life by making a generous donation to Worth A Dam with his inheritance. Thanks so much! And we’ll make sure we use it in the service of beavers!