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Well, today we had some friends visiting from France. So I decided to take them for a drive around the area, and then for a short hike near my house on the Niagara Escarpment to show them what our area of Canada was like.

We hiked to the edge of the escarpment cliffs and soaked in the wonderful views, then we hiked inland to a natural pond, almost a lake created by one of the local beavers. I had been there several times in the last year and seen evidence that it was a beaver created natural wetland. Anyway, as we were standing by the waters edge, who should arrive? None other than the creator of this wonderful wetland.

Turn up the volume if you want to hear the hilarious commentary by one of our french guests. Unfortunately the other video I took had too much sun glare to be viewable. The beaver kept circling back again and again to check us out. No fear.

Now I know he's there and not very afraid of people, I think I might get a real HD video cam and try to spend a couple of days getting some real video of him/her.

Anyway, I could not have asked for a better short hike. Beautiful scenery, good company and I got to see in person the animal that creates so much habitat for others up close and in person.

I saw God today!

Btw, the Title of this diary derives from the iconic series of public service messages aired by the Canadian Government back in the 60's, 'Hinterland Who's Who:{animal}'. I guess series must have been inspired by the owl.

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Comment Preferences

  •  THANK YOU! (5+ / 0-)

    something to chuckle over.

  •  Tipped and recced (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, marsanges, yuriwho, FarWestGirl

    for the title alone which immediately brought back childhood TV watching memories. And then doubly so for going for a hike on the escarpment, the site of many a salamander 'hunting' expedition in my youth.

    Now I'll actually watch the videos.

    "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

    by matching mole on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 03:56:01 AM PDT

  •  Now that beavers are no longer hunted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes, yuriwho

    to near extinction, the night-lovers are no longer being selected for and you can see them at all hours of the day and night.
    Flapping the water is not a sign of fear.  It's a signal to other beavers that there's a large critter about and, in the case of critters that are easily startled, like deer, it probably makes them jump and run.
    Beavers have a set of behaviors which they engage in rather randomly.  But, because they do them over and over again, the results of their activities look planned to us.  The do like to swim more than walk over land, so they block the flow of water, build dams and then continue dredging so their swimming in and out of the banks or the lodges that get built in the middle of a pond is unimpeded.

    Here's a somewhat longer video

    Abandoned dams and lodges are a good source of firewood.  What annoys humans is that the beavers sometimes forget what they've started and their partial gnawing of trees kills what they don't even eat.
    The extent to which beavers are responsible for creating fresh-water wetlands has not been studied, as far as we know.  In any event, the idea that North America was ever virgin forest in the memory of man is nonsense.  Beaver have been landscaping almost forever.
    Europe, by the way, used to have beaver until humans exterminated them.

    by hannah on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 04:00:27 AM PDT

  •  P.S. (0+ / 0-)

    Beavers can't see very well.  They do pick up strange scents.  So, whether or not you'll be noticed depends on which way the wind is blowing.  Like muskrat, beaver have a strong scent themselves, so after a while, if you visit often enough, you'll be able to smell if they've been around recently.  But, keep in mind that their behavior is largely random.  Temperature, I think, triggers some of it.  That may account for why they've never been known to be in Florida.  Groundwater temp in Florida is 65 degrees year-round.  That may be too warm.  New Hampshire's, for comparison is 45 degrees.

    by hannah on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 04:08:26 AM PDT

    •  I'm not sure where you're getting (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexMex, mayim, isabelle hayes, yuriwho, badger

      all this information.

      1) Beavers certainly live in Florida.  As in many parts of North America they were largely exterminated (apparently hanging on in the far northern part of the state) but have been expanding south again in recent decades.  Historical data indicates that they once lived south to Orlando.  Information is from here.

      2) European beavers certainly went extinct in most parts of Europe but never did in Norway (from Wikipedia) and have been widely reintroduced (I guess this depends on how you define Europe - I once overheard British couple telling a young traveler in a train station that Scandinavia was not part of Europe - from my perspective as a non-European it has to be part of some continent (it's not an island)).

      3) It seems awfully exacting to say that Beavers felling small trees close to bodies of water makes the vast forests of ancient North America 'not-Virgin'.  A combination of storms and decay probably felled vastly more trees over the years than beavers.

      4) Beavers' behaviors are certainly not random.  Animals  have nervous systems that respond to external and internal stimuli by triggering responses - the nervous system doesn't just send out information to trigger a random series of actions.  Any animal that behaved randomly wouldn't live very long.  Beavers may not sit down and plan out their lodges with an architect but they are certainly performing an organized series of actions in which previous actions influence current actions.

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 04:50:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I stand corrected. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Delighted to read that the beaver is in Florida.  But, they didn't go extinct anywhere.  Humans extinguished them.

        In my experience, beavers aren't at all averse to circling oaks, maples and aspen anywhere from twelve to twenty-plus inches in diameter and then waiting for a good windstorm to fell them, preferably when the branches and leaves are still alive and good to eat.  While I don't begrudge them the trees, I have surrounded the ones I don't want circled with chicken wire and the spouse occasionally winches trees that get hung up in others as they fall in a storm.  Branches set aside in a brush pile will be claimed by the beavers and taken to their lodge.

        When I say "random," I'm commenting from the perspective of an observer and alerting the reader to the fact that one can't expect to find them doing predictable things at a predictable time of day.  Also, random is to be distinguished from regular.  Regulating nature is often difficult because of random behavior.  Ergo, environmental regulation is often frustrating for humans.

        by hannah on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 05:54:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the word you want is "stochastic". (0+ / 0-)

          in any case, i doubt whether beavers have a clear enough understanding of cause and effect in order to deliberately build dams so as to create pools in which to swim. most likely, they don't really "know why" they are building the dam -- it's just a nervous, instinctive behavior. (i read once that it's stimulated by the sound of flowing water ...)

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 06:18:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Having observed them for many years (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            now, I don't think it's the sound of the water, but rather the sensation of the flow.  They're quite content to leave multiple trickling rivulets, but a flow of a perceptible volume prompts them to make repairs, even in the middle of a horrendous rain-storm and swelling creeks.  Besides, their ears, like their eyes, are made to spend much time under water where sound doesn't travel as it does through air.  Vibrations that carry through the ground and under water is what they respond to, IMHO.


            by hannah on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 06:26:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not so sure about that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            We live next to a creek which, at this time of year, has enough flow to wash out a road in few minutes - which it did last week. But after spring runoff, the creek goes dry at our property, and has a fairly low, continuous flow beginning about 1/4 mile below us.

            About 1/2 mile below us, there's about 100 yds between the road and the creek. In that 100 yds are springs that flow year 'round.

            A few years ago, beavers built a dam and pond - not by damming the creek, but by damming below the springs and above the creek. There wasn't any sound of flowing water there - in fact, before they built, I would have doubted it was possible.

            Then they built a larger dam and pond about 50 yds below the first one. And beaver dams are perfectly engineered - this one is even buttressed on the downstream side for better support, and the arc of the dam itself is nearly perfect. The placement of the dam was also critical - probably anywhere else in the vicinity wouldn't have worked.

            I hadn't noticed any blueprints or computers (or maybe they still use slide rules) around, but I'd give beavers a lot more credit for intentionality and understanding.

            There's also a great (but too short) IMAX movie on beavers (called, oddly, Beavers) that you can get from Netflix - it's well worth viewing. It even includes footage of beavers dancing in the moonlight, and it's much better than most wildlife documentaries, which are too often just a collection of "cute" shots with no real information accompanying them.

            We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

            by badger on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 12:05:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you! From a New Mexican who loves Canada. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole, Wendys Wink, yuriwho
  •  French people & beavers? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole, TexMex, marsanges, yuriwho

    Now I've seen it all! The French fries comment was a hoot...

    Shilling for Asinus Asinum Fricat!

    by Patric Juillet on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 04:30:36 AM PDT

    •  Most of the early beaver trappers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yuriwho, Patric Juillet

      in E Canada and the upper midwest were French - sometimes called manguers du lard, but more often called voyageurs.

      That's the reason that the old fur trade routes in WI led to names like Prairie du Chien or De Pere or Lake Buttes des Mortes.

      We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

      by badger on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 12:11:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Niagra escarpment is lovely! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole, mayim, yuriwho

    It also protects the wonderful vineyards of the Niagara region.
    I lived there for 23 years. The fruit, the wine!

  •  I'm surprised you were able to get so close (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to video this particular beaver.  I've studied them on Isle Royale, where they haven't been hunted/trapped for half a century, yet they are still very wary.  I can sit very very still for a couple of hours by one of their dams or lodges waiting for activity and just the movement of my hand on the camera can cause them to dive.  So - you were indeed lucky to get this shot.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." A. Einstein

    by moose67 on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 05:58:22 AM PDT

  •  This diary will get some hits on the internets. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Education is dangerous - Every educated person is a future enemy" Hermann Goering (NRSC?)

    by irate on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 05:59:33 AM PDT

  •  You have friends from France? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How long before this diary is causing a redstate meltdown?

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 06:12:29 AM PDT

  •  Statement from Primus (0+ / 0-)

    21st Century Republicans would much rather legalize murder than marijuana.
    DK4 Cannabis Reform Group Writing Guidelines

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 06:47:48 AM PDT

    •  I live in beaver land. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They don't just take down small trees.

      I've seen 50 - 100 footers go down, on my property, thanks to their handiwork.

      Maples, mostly.

      At one point, they built up a dam, 173 feet long, 4 feet high, in the wetlands we have on our property.

      Flooding the wetland totally, and undermining the road next to it.

      We had to break the dam, by hand, and install a pond leveller to get them to stop repairing the dam.

      And had a trapper come in too.

      Yes, they're lovely, but they can be very, very destructive.

      The picture is of the remnant of the dam, a year and a half after the pond leveller was installed.  See the llamas in the background?

      This is a picture of the pond leveller; it's basically a pipe with hundreds of holes in it, used to drain the extra water across the land bridge in the photo.

      Both pictures are taken in February 2008.

      "Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it" Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, part time vampire

      by marigold on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 09:53:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Around here they've dropped trees across the road, and near their dam they started working on a cottonwood probably 150 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter.

        They haven't finished it yet though.

        We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

        by badger on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 12:13:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking of Hinderland Who's Who, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yuriwho, wonmug

    here's a really good spoof:

  •  Very cool! And lucky you, you don't have to check (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to see whether your rodent is a beaver or a nutria. In Oregon, we have to look to see if they have rat tails or proper tails to tell. That and the nutria tend to build grass dams instead of twig and branch dams. ::sigh::

    Glad s/he put in a timely appearance for you and your guests. The Tourist Board should send over some fresh twigs as a tip. ;-)

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

    by FarWestGirl on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 03:38:53 PM PDT

  •  Gratuitous Leslie Nielson reference (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

    by Thor Heyerdahl on Wed Apr 13, 2011 at 10:05:38 AM PDT

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