Jack’s Walk

Alas, we did not find the beaver, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I found this beaver chewed tree at the end of the trail today. We looked around a bit, but couldn’t find any other signs of beaver activity. This tree tells me that they’re here, though, and once the ground is frozen and less boggy we’re going to walk closer to the river to see what we can see. I’ve never seen a beaver in the wild so this is all very exciting. What could go wrong?


  1. Jazzlet says

    Ooooooh, exciting!

    Beavers have been reintroduce to England, in the south west and are doing very well, but it will be a long time before they get up here unless they are moved here.

  2. Raucous Indignation says

    Beavers are a lovely sight in the wild. They are still fairly prevalent in the NorthEast US. My in laws used to have beaver ponds all around their home in New Hampshire.

  3. kestrel says

    We have beavers here, but they are wary and hard to spot in the wild. They make some people mad, because they build dams across any running water, including irrigation ditches. We don’t mind them on the creek, but in the irrigation ditch doesn’t work, and this does not bring up the issue that irrigation water does not flow all year round. It might seem like a good home to a beaver in the spring when the fields are being irrigated, but that water is going to go away, so in the long run it’s better for the beaver to be relocated. People here have started building what they call “Beaver Deceivers” http://www.beaverdeceivers.com/ which really help both the environment and the beavers. Beavers are actually pretty important little critters, and the old ways of trapping and killing them really are not the best response. The Beaver Deceivers are a great tool to use to help humans and beavers get along and they actually improve the water table and ecosystem as a whole.

  4. Nightjar says

    Oh! We don’t have beavers here, they supposedly went extinct around the 15th century and were never reintroduced. It must be so exciting to see just evidence of their activity, let alone an actual beaver!

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    Maybe that tree was felled just to get branches for food.

    There are beavers here, both Canadian beavers (from USA) and Eurasian beavers (from Norway), that were introduced after beavers had been hunted to extinction. AFAIK, at the time of the re-introduction, they didn’t know they were of different species (they are very difficult to tell apart). The Canadian beavers are more numerous as they have higher fertility.

    In Finnish beaver is majava and there are people with last name Majava (a few football/soccer players for example).

    I’ve never seen a beaver in the wild either.

  6. says

    Beavers have been reintroduced here rather successfully. OK, some of them reintroduced themselves as they escaped from the local zoo, but they’re doing so well that there are an estimated 500 animals in our small state again. I have only ever spotted their works, never the animal itself.

  7. says

    Beaver dams can be interesting problems. There is one over near Pottersdale, about 15 miles from here -- it’s huge and someday it’s going to fail and a bunch of campsites down the mountain are going to have a surprise tsunami.

  8. kestrel says

    @Marcus, #7: they should try a Beaver Deceiver. That way they won’t have a failure of the dam. The beavers can continue to do their thing, and in the meantime the water will not accumulate too much.

  9. voyager says

    Thanks for sharing the Beaver Deceiver info. What a great approach to handling so-called ‘nuisance’ animals.

  10. rq says

    I grew up with beavers almost literally in my backyard. The only reason they didn’t is because of the perimeter fence, and the fact that my parents artificially raised the lowest parts of the backyard to be above the swamp. We still spent a lot of time tearing down their dams to avert flooding, and we had achieved a certain behavioural equilibrium until the developers moved in. I always thought of them as shy, clumsy oversized rats with wicked teeth -- but harmless.
    Then I moved here and heard about beaver attacks. O.o
    If you want to spot a beaver in NA, though, silence and stillness are best, and a careful eye -- they can be awkward on land, but they are nearly invisible in water, because even when not diving, there’s barely a nostril poking out. And yes, they’re easily startled. Good luck with your beaver-watching, Jack and voyager!

  11. dakotagreasemonkey says

    I have seen Beaver in the wild in both Utah and North Dakota.
    In Utah, I had a friend John, who was really into fly fishing for brook trout in the Beaver ponds of the small creeks of the Uinta Mountains surrounding Salt Lake City. We would hike a creek until we found a beaver dam, then find a spot about halfway around the beaver pool (clear enough of trees and brush, that he could work his fly rod), and just lean and relax against a tree for 20 minutes to an hour.
    After about 20 minutes, one Brookie would just come out and start looking through the water to the air to see what was around. John and I would stay still as the tree trunks we were leaning against, only our eyes moving. About then, the squirrels would quit yelling at us, and go about their business being squirrels(The alarm system of the wilderness!).
    Pretty soon after that, we would see several Brookies come out behind little rocks or crevices in the pond. All eyes on the wind in the air, still high alert.
    After about 45 minutes of us arriving at their pond behind the dam, with about 20 Brookies starting to feed on the insects that had also gone silent when we arrived, the Beavers would slide out of their house and swim around to places where they started sniffing air, just their nose out of the water, trying to see if anything smelled funny.
    If we chose the wrong side of the wind, the pond would go into lock-down again. A tail slap, and every sign of life would disappear.
    If we were on the downwind side of the pond, the scout beaver would set the all clear signal, and several beavers would come out of the lodge, and start leaving the pond for foraging up and down the creek.
    Only after that, would the queen Brookie show herself, and start feeding on the insects that had also come out.
    Big and fat, John never threw a bait to her, just to a little one at the edge of the pond. If they took the bait, or not, didn’t matter, he just wanted to see the queen Brookie. He would most often, just collect the greediest medium sized fish with his nearly invisible flick of his fly rod, not the queen.
    Of course, after a fish catch, we had to move, and the pool would go into lockdown mode again. 9 times out of ten, John would release the Brookie back into the beaver pond. One Brookie isn’t a meal, he’d say.
    I was 35 or so at the time, he was 63. John was the man that taught me Patience. An hour hike up a mountain, at least an hour watching the wildlife, and another hour hiking back down. All just to see the queen of the pond.
    John also taught me ways to straighten metal, which I have used since. A Wizard at moving sheet metal, he was.
    Thanks for bringing up good memories.

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