Check out my new blog Beaver Dams, Lodges, Ponds and Ingenuity

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Click here for a Short Course on Beavers: a brief summary of what beavers do

I've been watching beavers in the swamps on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River since 1994. I'd like to do two things with this web page: in a link I call BeaveReality I'll give you as complete an idea of how beavers live as I am able to do based on my own experiences in the swamp ponds I roam , and in a link I call Beaver Lore I'll share my reactions to other books and articles about beavers or that mention beavers.

Like a beaver, I'll build these links a little at a time

As I describe my own experiences I'll pack in as many images as I can, but only photos that I took myself, or to be more precise that I lifted from the video record I keep of the beaver ponds I watch. So the photos may not be of the highest quality. Also I'm not much interested in solving the problems beavers are accused of causing, except that I might reconcile you to the beauty of fallen and dead trees, and flooded fields and forests.

What you'll find at BeaveReality       What you'll find at Beaver Lore
Beaver behavior       my reaction to the book Lily Pond
Beavers and Trees       Morgan's American Beaver
dams       Martin's Castorologia
canals       Dugmore' Romance of the Beaver
ponds       Mill's In Beaver World
lodges       Buffon's chapter on Beavers
a story about beavers       Calvin Martin on Beavers and Indians
beaver activity around a hole in the ice       James Fennimore Cooper's Beavers
        Scientific paper on Beavers and Trout
        Paper on the Beaver-Meadow Complex
        Paper on Beavers and the Nitrogen Budget
        more, including Beavers in the Jesuit Relations

A Little Beaver Philosophy

Beavers get a lot of work done in a way completely the opposite of the way we humans go about our tasks. We are more akin to the lower animals, say ants, and fret that nothing will get done unless there is regimentation and planning. It is one-two-three and we all pitch in at once, be it a hundred spadefuls, a hundred chops or a hundred roars from the guns. The beaver has a curious way of rotating through all the activity around the pond. I will see a beaver gnawing on a tree trunk, usually no longer than ten minutes, and then it will move off into the pond and go down to another tree. Another beaver will come to the tree the other beaver left and start gnawing on it. A beaver, in our terms, is not individually a good worker. But all beavers seem inordinately curious about all work. They can't resist picking up where another beaver has left off. Consequently the beavers as a group get a great deal of work done.

So take a bite:

BeaveReality Beaver Lore

Click here to read my nature journal with photos that gives weekly updates on my observations of beavers.

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