Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dam Beavers

I have the pleasure of living in a quiet rural setting. My house is on a rise and the bottom of the hill is a meandering creek that attracts birds and other wildlife. A year or so after I moved here I began losing ornamental trees--mostly Dogwoods--to a pair of marauding beavers. A biologist/trapper visited, found the den (these particular beavers were building into the bank, rather than making a dam), and then set traps (for which we got a permit from Game & Fisheries). I've got nothing against beavers, but I didn't want to lose all my trees. Problem solved, for that year. I lost a couple of trees a few years later, but set up a strobe light at beaver eye level that may have worked in chasing the critters away (or blinding them) because I haven't had a problem since. I said at the time that I wouldn't worry about them at all if they would just build a dam, because it would be neat to have a pond.

A few days ago, I noticed that a lot of twigs had lodged against the rocks in a shallow spot of the creek. We haven't had a lot of rain, so I was actually looking for spots where I might easily cross, something I can't do when the creek is high. On closer inspection, though, I saw that the twigs had gnawed ends. Still, I wasn't certain that beavers were responsible (even though I also spotted a mud slide on the bank where some animal was obviously moving to and from the water). I checked it today and now it is unmistakable: beavers are building a dam and creating the pond I've been wanting. It's quite a bit higher than it was a few days ago and it is clearly constructed of saplings (although no trees are missing from the yard, so they must be getting them from the nearby woods) that have been stripped of bark. The dam and pond are located at a perfect spot for observation, and one that won't cause me any damage.

I'm really looking forward to watching the progress . . .

1 comment:

Tom Lombardo said...

Very cool, Cliff. I love this observation. Very Thoreau of you. Keep us posted please about how large becomes the pond.