Critter Control, Part 1: The Beaver

img_4365As has been blogged about elsewhere, a beaver family has taken up residence in my neighborhood. At first, I found the beavers fascinating, watching them swim in the pond and seeing their dam get built, and then rebuilt after the city pulled it down several weeks ago, listening for the slap of their tails on the water. Others spotted the beavers toddling around the wild area, looking larger than expected. Now, as fascinating as these creatures remain, I’m feeling a bit threatened as well.

The beavers have pretty much cleared out the trees that they are likely to go for in an area one of my neighbors refers to as “the flats,” that is the public land and a couple of private lots closest to the beaver dam. Our property is about an eighth of a mile away from the dam and just a short distance from one of the beaver ponds. I’m pretty sure a hungry beaver could  make the trip easily. So, with that in mind, I have surrounded several trees in our backyard with hardware wire.

According to several beaver sites, beavers prefer aspen trees–and, indeed, the yard that has suffered the most beaver damage so far had a beautiful stand of aspen on it. But beavers also like willow, cottonwood, birch, maple, oak, and cherry trees. I have a couple of nice oaks and a cherry in my yard, as well as two conveniently placed (if you are a beaver) apple trees. I didn’t wrap any of the bushes…at least not yet.

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