They are at it again. Almost exactly a year ago, I blogged about the tree-felling damage beavers had done on the creek that runs out of Sucker Lake in St. Paul (click here to read that post). Park personnel rectified that damage by removing fallen trees, and the creek was once again obstacle free for the mallards and swans that overwinter there.
But the resident beavers must have been busy lately, trying to dam up the creek for their own winter security, because there are even more trees lying across the creek this fall than last year.
Muskrats are only about 1-4 pounds; an adult beaver might weigh in at 60, so size would obviously be an easy way to tell which species it is. But how can you determine whether what you see is an adult muskrat or a baby beaver? Here’s a tip from the Washington Post.
Beaver and Muskrat happily coexist in slow-moving streams and ponds. In fact, muskrats prefer the habitat changes that beavers make because it encourages growth of the vegetation they prefer. In the long run, the environmental remodeling produced by beaver dams increases the number and diversity of plant, fish, invertebrate, bird, and mammal species associated with that aquatic habitat. So, is it wrong to call this tree-felling “beaver damage”? I wonder what park personnel will do this year.