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Winter Beaver Activity


Typically this time of the year the water is covered over with a thick layer of ice and snow. Little work is done by the beavers while the females are preparing to give birth. I noticed with the above average temperatures this year that the beavers have been putting in some overtime doing what they do best. I noticed since my last visit last fall that they have been enlarging their dams, adding to their food storage and improving their lodge.

large dam beaver reservoir

It is so hard to believe that these dams are built entirely by the beavers. The picture on the left shows their main dams that’s just over 6 feet in height. Since the fall these guys have added an additional 2 feet to this dam and it is unbelievable how much water they are currently backing up. The second picture shows one of their reservoirs just down stream that they built to give the beavers more access to their food. They need to back up the water with these dams to providing protection from predators, ability to float logs back to their lodge and soften up the mud which helps them build everything up better.

winter food storage

During the fall months the beavers are very busy adding sticks to their food storage stacks to feed on during the winter months. I was shocked to find this food storage larger than I normally find this time of the year. If you look at this picture above you will see their typical way the beaver store the family’s food storage piles. This gives the beaver access to their food when the water is frozen over and limited to just their pond. Then they can swim under the ice to their food storage and bring the sticks back to the lodge to eat.

beaver lodge

As the water level rises by increasing the height of the dam these beaver will continue to work on the lodge. They will add more mud and sticks to the outside of the lodge but then inside the lodge remove sticks from the top to add it to the lodge’s floor. It is a perfect way of building the lodge up to the needed size for the family living in it.

These beaver dazzle me every time that I visit them with their ability to do amazing work with sticks and mud.

7 responses

  1. Amazing creatures!! Thank you for showing your great photos and the lesson on beavers! Is this in ASP near you? It must be awesome to see this in person!

    15 January 2007 at 7:01 pm

  2. Didi

    I understand now.. how amazing .. !
    Still don’t see how they do it so high!!

    15 January 2007 at 7:41 pm

  3. Beavers are so amazing! I’ve seen their work years back on a much, much smaller scale in Maryland. Thanks for those great photos!

    15 January 2007 at 8:12 pm

  4. Great beaver info! I had no idea how their dam-building and food storage system worked. I’ve always been impressed by their industriousness.

    16 January 2007 at 10:53 am

  5. Very cool – I remember when beavers starting building a dam down by my parents’ place. They flooded out an entire portion of a farmers corn field, but he was generous enough to sell it to the adjoining nature preserve instead of going and removing the beavers (which had been rarely if ever heard of in that area up to that point). It was a win-win for everyone.

    These photos are a great look at the beaver habitat – and a good set of information to go with them. Thanks for sharing!

    16 January 2007 at 11:40 am

  6. Wonderful pictures and a terrific lesson! There is an old beaver dam across Hasty Brook and an old lodge built along the bank. It doesn’t seem to have been in use for the last few years though. Thanks for the great info!

    16 January 2007 at 1:17 pm

  7. Thank you everyone for such wonderful comments!
    @ Naturewoman – They are wonderful critters – it is located over in the Wolf Run area of the park! I guess I am lucky to see ponds all the time, maybe not lodges this large.
    @ Didi – it takes them a while and lots of branches and mud to make it that high! It is amazing!
    @ Mary – I normally see them smaller but this one has had a great deal of food to use to build it up! Glad you have had a chance to see them!
    @ Robin – they do have a wonderful industry with everyone working together in making it larger!
    @ Marty – now they trap them out, how wonderful he felt it was important to sell the land to the nature preserve! Sounds like a very good man! Thanks for such kind words!
    @ Lynne – thanks for being so nice and always looking for way’s to give people a chance to see things they might not always get a chance to see. I didn’t post the picture but this pond also had a bank lodge (probably where their young live). They are just as interesting! Thanks!

    16 January 2007 at 5:07 pm

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