Montana Outdoors

January 19, 2007

My neighbor, the beaver

Filed under: Animals, Beaver, Conservation, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 7:29 pm

Today, instead of going on my usual hike through the foothills, I chose to scramble for a few miles along the bank of the Clark Fork river and enjoy some of the winter scenery there, and in so doing walked right into the yard of the resident beaver.

Back in October I wrote a post “Overwhelmed?” about beavers and some of the tasks they perform. That setting was about a hundred miles from where I live. This encounter was closer to home.

A hundred yards downstream from this scene

Clark Fork in winter 1

is this beaver lodge, and judging by its small size, probably the home of a single beaver or a small family. It will suffice for the winter but will be swept away by the high water during the spring run-off in May.

Beaver lodge

Besides cutting the small willows along the bank for food, this guy chose to put the branches of a small pine tree in his larder. While they will often use pines in building their dams, it is rather unusual to find one that is used strictly for food.

Beaver food

This is what the chips which are laying at the base of the stump look like up close. The grooves made by the beaver’s teeth can clearly be seen.

Beaver chips

This is just another tiny piece which interlocks into the huge puzzle of the natural world.

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