It’s starting to be time for the third annual beaver dam jam with our friends in Pocatello Idaho. I’m really proud of Mike Settell and is band of merry folk for getting this together in a state that traps more than it treasures. I am pretty sure that our festival convinced these folks to try their own, but even I can’t imagine what it would take to offer camping AFTER the event!
New Hampshire NPR would like you to consider the poor, unappreciated and undervalued trapper this morning. Because you know, those icky beavers can’t be regulated in any other way. Everyone says so, Even the NH Furbearer biologist Patrick Tate, whose salary is paid by selling trapping licenses. Go figure.
Well sure, this report contains a brief ineffective interview with a ‘save it all’ vegan at the end, and no discussion whatsoever of the valuable services beavers provide or the fish and wildlife that are harmed by their removal, but the real issue of whether this is a trap-happy report or not comes down to this essential question: A) Does it feature a sympathetic photo of the trapper? And B) is he presented in some humble, hardworking way like sitting on the stairs, writing a letter to his mother or standing on the street in his socks? Answer here:
If only there were a hole in his stocking! That would be really effective story telling. Because OBVIOUSLY no one else in the ENTIRE state can manage the voracious beaver population without help from trappers! I mean it’s not like our NH friend Art Wolinsky as been living peacefully with the flow device he and Mike installed and his beavers for half a decade right? Icing on the cake: Art just wrote me that they invited Mr. Tate to watch Mike install this flow device in person. No kidding.
Well the important thing is that the trapper is knowledgeable about what he’s doing. He clearly is very informed about beavers, right?
Kaska’s not sure how many beavers are in this pond. He should be able to tell once he catches one—by looking at its tail. Beavers are territorial: they fight by biting each others’ tails.
“If tomorrow I find a beaver in one of my traps that has bite marks out of his tail, that will tell me I have two different family units in this area. Maybe I’ve got the stranger; maybe I’ve got the resident. But that tells me that I maybe have more.”
Yup. Because tail marks always mean that a stranger beaver is snooping around the area, right?
Yesterday I stumbled across this wonderful interview with Derek Gow about beavers in England. I admit that I was originally drawn by the amusing photo which of course readers of this site should recognize right away. But let’s make allowances for the fact that they haven’t seen beaver in 400 years and cut them some slack.
It might take a moment to adjust to his Cornish accent, but the whole 15 minute interview is very, very good. I got especially fascinated by his discussion of the species that suffered when beavers were removed from the landscape. At around 2:13 he talks about the Large Copper Butterfly that relied as catapillars on the coppiced willow trees at the edge of forests beavers once provided that never really recovered from their removal. Next he talks about the Bearded Tit which feed their youngsters on the larvae from flooded reed beds that rarely occur in the absence of beavers. It made me realize what an incredible numbers of species beaver ponds affect that we never even consider.
The entire interview is the work of Open Learn and you might want to register and peek about to see what else they have. I’m very impressed with the work Derek has done to educate his countrymen about why beavers matter. It’s an uphill job but he points out that if we want folks in Kenya to coexist with truly destructive animals like elephants and Lions, we should be able to tolerate a little beaver interference!
Now look closely at this photo and you’ll see two young green herons perching on the horizontal branch at ward street. Why do I say young? We weren’t sure until we got home and blew up the pictures. Check out their fuzzy pinfeather heads that are still waiting for that impressive green heron ruff to grow in. Last night we saw four hanging out on the branch, obviously not sure they were ready for a night away from the nest.
I was never certain that green herons reproduced in the area, but these guys are certainly from a local nest. In fact we think their birthplace was just a ways off in that stand of trees. They are kind of ready to venture out on their own. But not THAT ready. Look at them huddle together. And think of when the last time was you ever saw two green herons looking cozy together. Never, that’s when.
They all tried flying off and settling in different street trees. Then clamored back anxiously in a huddle. One flew over to investigate the sudden SQUAWK of a woman walking by with a parrot. It’s a big scary world outside the nest, and we think they were getting ready to spend their first night alone in it.
Oh and there were beavers there too. We saw mom and dad swimming about, and the award beginnings of a new dam under the bridge. I don’t think the city is likely to flood any time soon. Heh heh heh.
I think mom might have been miffed that herons had stolen their paparazzi. Here’s she is cruising the neighborhood and making sure we were watching.
And here’s what Moses shared some this morning, filmed from a little lower. I just wish that beaver reaching could face us so we could see if there are teats!
Bob Rust finally gets the credit he deserves after years of hard work. You won’t find any photos in the article, but of course we have them all.
IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST: Beaver sightings are not all that uncommon along Alhambra Creek in Martinez — especially during the city’s annual Beaver Festival, which took place last weekend — so it takes something larger than life to turn heads. Leave it to Bob Rust to answer the challenge.
Rust, an environmental scientist by trade, has been moonlighting as the festival’s unofficial artist in residence for several years, surprising audiences with his whimsical creations that have ranged from beaver-shaped loaves of bread to a mechanical beaver tail to a giant inflatable beaver reminiscent of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.
For this year’s festival, Rust made a grand entrance on what might best be described as a “beaver mobile.” He started with a low-slung adult tricycle that he picked up used, then covered it in a papier mâché shell that he painted in appropriate shades of brown, attaching a huge tail that dragged noisily on the ground as he pedaled around the festival grounds, all while hidden within the faux beaver’s mighty belly.
Rust, who last year crafted a beaver out of wattle and daub as the festival was in progress, is no stranger to taking his creations from concept to completion on short notice. He spent about a week on the beaver mobile, and was still putting the finishing touches on it that Saturday morning. He said he was painting the critter’s white teeth at 10:15 a.m. and needed to get it to the festival by 10:30.
Rust has more than a passing interest in beavers. An avid kayaker, he usually tries to take his boat onto Alhambra Creek prior to festival weekend to remove trash or other unsightly debris.
No telling what he might do for an encore at next year’s festival, but he is intrigued by the idea of bringing back his beaver bread — baked in a beaver-shaped oven. Stay tuned …
The beavers are SO lucky to have a hero like this working for them! Thanks Bob!
Nice conference call yesterday about the big event. Bob Rust is going to be manning his beaver-bike outside the theater. The organic women’s chorus will be singing as people enter, then I’ll present on our neighborhood beavers and Kate will present on beavers in California and then Jari Osborne’s wonderful film will run. It should be a beaver night to remember.
There’s a short write-up about Bob’s beaver-mobile in the Tribune this morning, with an unaccountable photo beside the restrooms and the trash can.
This beavermobile (for lack of a better term) was a hit scooting around at the 9th annual Beaver Festival on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. The theme of this year’s free festival was “Ecosystem Engineers,” and featured over 40 environmental exhibits, live music, and lots of fun learning activities for people of all ages. For more information on the Martinez beavers, visit MartinezBeavers.org. (JOHN GRUBKA / Courtesy)
But before the beaver mobile can appear for its second performance in Vallejo and before I can fill the big screen with the Martinez Beavers, I have to return to Placer to coax. cajole, badger them into thinking about beaver management differently. I’m restructuring that talk to begin with the news that Placer kills 7 times more beavers than any other county in the state which costs a lot of money and eliminates a lot of fish and wildlife. How’s that for a ‘hook’?
Film Screening: Leave it to Beavers
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
Heidi Perryman, Ph.D
Worth A Dam/Martinezbeavers.org
Music by Organic Women’s Chorus
Friday, September 16, 7pm – 10:00 pm
Happy you-know-what to you-know-who.