We recently discovered something very exciting at our house! We are sharing our property with a beaver. This is a fairly recent beaver, as I am fairly certain it was not here when we moved in. Or maybe it was hibernating. Do beavers hibernate? I don't know, ask Ruby. She knows a lot more about beavers than I do.
The first clue we had that a beaver had moved in was the fact that it built a dam in our stream. During the spring, once everything had melted, Ruby and I would go out to the stream and throw sticks into the water, trying to see which ones would go over the tiny little waterfall, and which ones would get stuck on the rocks. After a while, I noticed that more and more sticks were getting stuck, and that there did appear to be an awfully big pile of debris building up on the top of that waterfall area. It was Wide Awake Steve that first suggested that we might have a beaver on our hands, and, as it turns out, he was right.
By the time summer had officially started, there was no question; we had a dam. The water that had previously carried our sticks down the stream was now still and full of algae. Bugs swarmed over it like my mother at a yard sale, and the water level was almost a foot higher than it had been originally. The only weird thing was that I couldn't see any water flowing over the top, but I could hear it moving, and it was definitely flowing out the other side. That was when Ruby informed me that water flows under a beaver dam. She told me all about the mechanics of how beavers build their dams, and a lot of other fun beaver facts too. And she learned all this from one episode of "Wild Kratts." Genius, I tell you.
Now, I have not personally seen any beavers around, but our neighbor downstairs saw it. She didn't know about the dam, but she swore she saw the beaver early one morning, sitting on the edge of our yard chewing on a stick. When we told her about the dam, she was excited, and we were all happy to have beaver confirmation. Ruby and I went out to look at the stream again yesterday, and the dam looks like this now:
We still haven't seen the beaver, as they are generally frightened of humans and only come out early in the morning or late at night, but that didn't stop Ruby from leaving some sticks out for it to find. I don't know how many more sticks are needed for the dam, but we want to help out however we can, and we always keep an eye open, just in case the beaver decides to pop out. After all, getting to know your neighbors seems like a good thing to do, even if they are beavers.