Something was brought to my attention in regards to beavers that prompted this article*. I have been most privileged in my photography career to sit on a bank at the side of a pond on more than one occasion and watch beavers. Watching them during the winter, watching interactions between parent and kit. Listening to a kit crying making I’m hungry noises in a beaver lodge one spring. Oh, how wonderful that was. Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest person to have seen and experienced what I have in my life. With or without a camera in hand. Sitting in silence listening, watching, waiting. Beavers are very quiet in the water unless they are startled in which the slap of that tail can startle the heck out of you when unexpected. Beavers are incredible families.
Their dams are important to our environment, slowing water flow and acting as filters for sediments and important nutrients. They are after all expert architects of the wetlands. And they get very upset if they hear water running. After all, we all hate leaky taps, don’t we? They must fix it. This entails chopping down nice fresh branches or trees with those powerful sharp teeth and swimming them over to the area that needs fixing. And working hard pushing and pulling in and out of the mud and branches to get it into just the right place to plug the leaking water. They keep going until the job at hand is fixed.
I sat one evening trying ever so hard not to keep swatting the black files that wanted me for dinner. Despite my natural bug spray. I can wear a full-out bug suit and they still get to me. But nothing was stopping me from sitting with the beavers that evening. Mom, Dad and one kit. Busy going back and forth to gather material to plug a leaky dam. The baby was precious. He or she was helping. As one parent dragged a leafed branch through the water, the baby would follow. He was helping too. He was tagging along eating the leaves. Mom and Dad were oblivious to the little guy as it was all part of his teachings on how to become a beaver. After all, that was helping, he was taking the weight off the load right! He was learning. Following, watching, participating.