Wildlife photos from the Delaney WMA, Stow MA

Delaney Beaver at Work

As winter approaches, Delaney’s beaver population is busy at work, adding mud to insulate their lodges against the cold. Active lodges will have a muddy path leading up one side, and if you’re lucky, you might see the beaver’s webbed footprint in the muck.

Active lodges will also have a food cache nearby – a half-submerged pile of recently cut saplings and branches. Once Delaney freezes over, the beavers will feed upon the underwater cache throughout the winter.

In contrast, an abandoned or inactive beaver lodge will have lost most of its mud, and will be topped with whitened logs that have weathered in the sun over the years. Purple loosestrife and other vegetation may have sprouted and grown up from the lodge. There won’t be a cache of food adjacent to the lodge.

The beaver captured in these photos was out working on his lodge every night. He’d make his first appearance an hour or so after sunset, and then make repeated trips up and down the side of the lodge, hauling mud, muck, and sticks. Notice how he walks on his two hind feet, pressing back on his flat tail for balance.

Surprisingly, this lodge doesn’t have a food cache yet. Unless this beaver gets busy, he may not make it through the winter.

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One response

  1. Heather Peirce-LoPorto

    Thank you so much! I can’t wait to share this with my children!!!! My husband and I loved “Rocky Mountain Beaver Pond” when we were still undergrads! This is amazing! So glad to know about your work and your blog!

    Heather

    January 19, 2011 at 6:44 PM

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