A sure sign of recent beaver activity

Taking a walk to shake off the effects of all that Christmas feasting, I was pleased to discover beavers are back at the little pond in the swamp at the bottom of the hill. The tell-tale signs of their work are all along one shore.

It’s been an on-and-off situation with beavers there over the past several years. A family will move in, set up housekeeping, do some dam-building, and then disappear. After a couple of years, another family moves in, builds some more and then moves on.

Their work has altered the swamp. At one time there was hardly a pond there at all – just a brook running through surrounded by wet, spongy land. Now ducks and geese routinely stop there, and occasionally nest and rise their young. And for the first time in my memory, there are muskrats now as well, and I’m seeing more turtles. I see all that as an encouraging development.

Not everyone feels that way.

The first band of beavers caught the attention of the town public works people – their dams threatened to flood a road that runs nearby.

Officially or unofficially, someone went in and dismantled their dam. Undeterred, they simply rebuilt it. Now, in addition to threatening the road, the pond has grown in size and threatens to flood the backyard of a new McMansion built along one side of the pond. Why anyone would want to live beside a mosquito-infested swamp (it takes a lot of insect repellent to walk through there in the summer) is beyond me.

From the looks of things, the beavers have ambitious plans for some major construction, at least judging by the size of the trees they’re taking down. It’ll be interesting to find out what they have in mind and follow their progress.