Sunday, February 21, 2016

A cold night visit to the beavers and Burdock, Feb. 17

With a couple of nights of cold weather, I knew the beavers would likely be frozen into their small pond again, and without access to food, so I set out through the moonlit woods to make a delivery.

When I arrived, I did indeed find their holes frozen over.  They had been out during the recent warm rainy weather, and had chopped down a small (around 7 feet tall) spruce tree, and dragged it whole into the pond through a hole not much bigger than a beaver. They are strong and determined wrestlers of trees. While conifers are not a large part of the diet of these beavers, they do eat them—bark, mall twigs, and needles. I have seen them eat spruce, hemlock, and fir.
Stump of the little spruce.

Beech branches stuffed into the beaver's pond, spruce needles in foreground.
I smashed through the refrozen hole and added some beech branches to their larder, knowing the hole would freeze again quickly.

Nervous porcupine

Eating biscuit, quills raised
From the pond I cut up and over to the ledges where Burdock has been living. I find the little porcupine alone, and very nervous. He does not greet me, but hides in the far end of the den, rear end toward me and quills raised. I cannot persuade him that he is safe. He comes close enough to sniff my glove and take a biscuit, but then hustles back to his safe zone to eat it. Outside his den I see fresh coyote tracks. This must be what frightened Burdock, though I doubt the coyote posed much of a threat to the well armored porcupine.

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