Sunday, February 2, 2014

Punxsutawney Beaver & Other Signs of Spring?

Do I have this right? If a beaver emerges from the ice on February 2nd and doesn't see its shadow then we're in line for an early spring - right? Well, it's doubtful that a beaver is ever going to see its shadow. The fact is that they don't have especially good vision.  Besides, unlike Groundhogs (AKA woodchucks), beavers remain active all winter long although you may never see them. They stay in their lodge for the most part and draw on the underwater food cache that they built up in the fall.
Tippy, now nearly 2 years old, finally comes out to say hello
I went for quite a few weeks without seeing any beavers at the nature preserve. The beaver ponds have remained frozen tight and the ice has been far too thick for beavers to break through it. I've been cutting a hole in the ice for them to give them treats, but they haven't been taking anything until after dark - that is until this week. For the last few afternoons I've begun seeing some familiar beaver faces again.
Apples are a much appreciated treat
Julia, the colony's matriarch, makes a brief appearance 
Plenty of apples and a few Quaking Aspen boughs are well worth coming out for
Several Muskrats are overwintering in the pond - they also love apples
The beaver pond and dam have been consistently covered by snow and ice
The top of food cache protrudes out of the snow - the snow-covered lodge is right behind it
Wing impressions from a crow that landed on the snow covered pond
One wing's impression on the snow
A female Belted Kingfisher appeared at the pond yesterday - not good fishing yet I'm afraid
Several Bluebirds have been visiting the pond area - attracted by the many tree cavities
This Downy Woodpecker spends every night in a tree cavity over the pond
Today I found these 2 very recently shed deer antlers beneath an apple tree
Many different animals will gnaw on the antlers for calcium

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