Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The alder puzzle.

I thought I should be able to write something about the two photographs that I posted some minutes ago, but have not found out how.

Still - interesting to see the beaver on its hind legs, clasping the trunk of the alder tree with its fore feet and gnawing the bark. These are still hungry times for beavers. Although some grass is growing and I see wood sorrel beginning to put out its leaves, there is not a lot of new growth for beavers and other large herbivores. Yet, the animal in the photograph has a reasonably well covered look to its flank. On the other hand it is surprising to see it assaulting the alder with such enthusiasm when there are birches nearby and some sycamore branches on the felled tree on the far side of that pond.


  1. Hi Paul,

    Nice blog. One of the beaver families I watch had a steady diet of hornbeam in fall and winter, and now that they are out in the spring, they are feasting on birch. A month ago most of their pond was solid ice.Now they can swim about 100 meters up pond, and they seem to enjoy "shopping" for birches, doing as far as they can to get them and bringing them back near the lodge to gnaw on them close to home. But I draw no conclusions. Think of the pleasure they must feel to be free of ice and to able cruise up the forest!

    Bob Arnebeck on the St.Lawrence River

  2. Hi Bob,

    Great to hear from you!

    You have such an amazing diversity of trees in the Eastern USA. Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) doesn't grow as a native in Scotland, though there is a planted one behind the house here.

    I was intrigued to notice yesterday that the apples that I had put out as bait to attract beavers to a trail camera had not been eaten. I wondered if this was because the beavers were shy of the camera, or whether there was enough fresh grass now for them to abandon the apples in favour of the grass and other new vegetation that is coming up.

    Our ponds were iced over for short periods of the winter - nothing to compare with your ice, but I remember some years ago watching a beaver eating fresh leaves from a willow that they had felled. It grabbed the leaves in bunches and crammed them into its mouth. A Wonderful sight!