Nature Notes

Vol. IX February, 1931 No. 2


After an absence of at least twenty years the beavers came stealing back under cover of darkness and again put up their claim stake on the Longmire flat.

They chose a dense, small growth alder thicket just below Iron Mike Mineral spring and have constructed three series of small dams.

My surprising discovery came as I was wading through the a thicket and climbing over the matted young alder which was held down by the weight of the snow. On coming to a rather deep pool of water I started around, and there just a few feet ahead was a beaver house apparently in first-class shape. From all appearances it had been erected only recently and along the old established architectural lines for such buildings. It was built of small, short branches well cemented with alder leaves, mud and moss and stood about four feet from water level to the topmost stick thus affording room for a modern and comfortable beaver apartment.

The entrance to the house is about six feet to one side of its base and under three feet of water. Their ingenuity and protective instinct had caused them to fashion a retreat where they might escape a very powerful enemy with comparative ease.

Beaver houses in this Park are famous because of their scarcity. The only other one being discovered in the Fall of 1924 by the writer, a quarter-mile above Tahoma creek and below the Nisqually road. Nature has favored them by providing other means of shelter. However, this latest house proves that this style of building is not a lost art and that masters of the old school are still carrying on.

Just what pioneering spirit led this family to desert old established stamping grounds can only be guessed at. Perhaps it was to enjoy the medicinal or mineral properties of Iron Mike, but more likely it was the age old desire to establish a home apart and alone. Instead of cutting the material for their house close by they went far to one side of the water and cut clumps of alder from one to three inches in diameter. These saplings were then cut in lengths, one to three feet long, and transported to the house or dam as desired.

It is hoped that they will stay and carry on their interesting work so near our back doors.

Preston P. Macy,
Ass't. Chief Ranger.

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