Yet, back country paddlers that are hoping to encounter fewer surface rocks and other obstacles that become present during times of low water are likely to be confronted with a new navigational hazard – beaver dams. [Read more…] about Wildlife Handiwork: Beaver Dams
Castor canadensis is North America’s largest rodent and the second largest in the world — which was driven to near extinction in the Adirondacks around the turn of the last century, but whose reintroduction was astoundingly successful.
Although they had once been a major Adirondack economic force by anyone’s estimation — it was reported in 1671 that Dutch traders delivered 80,000 pelts a year to Europe — there was a dearth of information on the beaver once they had ceased to be profitable. [Read more…] about A Short History of Adirondack Beaver
When my sisters visit from Ireland, I try to play tour guide, but I’m occasionally at a loss for what to do next. During a visit in the late 1990s, my sister Grace said she would love to see a beaver.
At that time, I lived close to a beaver pond and often quietly waited for beaver sightings. Alas, the rodents failed to cooperate for Grace’s visit, although she was able to see their engineering work. I was disappointed for her, but not surprised. Many of my own encounters ended with at most a fleeting glimpse, and a loud slap of a leathery tail on water. [Read more…] about Beavers: Landscape Engineers
Throughout the autumn, when the water around its primary lodge remains open, the beaver (Castor canadensis) scours the shore near and far in search of those select woody plants on which it relies for food. These items are severed at their base and floated to the area just outside the main entrance to the family’s winter shelter and then pushed underwater as deep as possible.
Like many rodents, the beaver assembles a sizeable cache of food for use in winter when travel conditions become limited. Additionally, this rather rotund mammal develops deposits of fat that help to insulate it against the cold and can be used to fuel its internal energy needs. [Read more…] about Inside A Beaver Lodge in Winter
All mammals that employ the use of a shelter in winter instinctively attempt to find a place completely hidden from the view of humans for their home, except for one.
When the time comes in late summer or early autumn for establishing a protective enclosure for the coming season of cold, ice and snow, only the beaver places its residence in a spot that can be readily noticed by a person passing through the area. [Read more…] about Beavers Are Building Their Lodges
Aside from humans, perhaps no other species can modify its surroundings for its own purposes as much as beaver.
Throughout much of North America, these busy critters take down trees and dam streams to create waterways safe from predators and to lay up enough woody food stores to last the winter.
This exuberant activity is why beavers are known as “ecosystem engineers,” or species that profoundly change their environment in out-sized proportion to their numbers. [Read more…] about How Beavers Modify Forests: New Understandings
Beavers are the great architects of American ponds and streams. The North American beaver competes with the Eurasian beaver to be the 2nd largest rodent in the world, after another semi-aquatic mammal, the South American Capybara.
The average weight of a beaver in New York State is 42 lbs, though 60 pounders are not that unusual. Beavers have an average body length of 2 and ½ feet to 3 feet, and a flat swimming rudder tail of 8 to 14 inches. The tail doubles as a warning device, used to loudly slap the water when predators, dogs or people are sighted. [Read more…] about Beavers: Nature’s Architects and Engineers