Field Report 5: Beaver in Daytime: Meet "4:20"
After a week of wintery weather, where beaver channels and food cache ponds froze over and beavers seemed to stay in the dens for 48 hours, we now see a beaver out in the daylight across from the scent mound site.
This is the first time I’ve seen a beaver live in the Deschutes River! So exciting and also so frustrating that I don’t have a telephoto lens to share better photos/videos. It's now top on my list to find a suitable DSLR camera!
Accustomed to seeing our bank beavers only in black and white trail cam footage, I am wowed by the beautiful chocolate brown color of the fur. I thought it looked like a little brown bear. How lucky now to have regular afternoon sightings of this healthy, 50 lb. adult.
This beaver was practically motionless, half in the river, half on the bank on the opposite side of the river 50 feet away. Sleep-eating with eyes closed in the afternoon sun. S/he choosing a twig red willow, a blade of sawgrass, followed by twirling a debarked alder stick between dexterous hands. I notice it’s about 30 minutes of eating then a few minutes of grooming. Rubbing the belly area to release the oil to then re-coat the fur to remain water resistant. We see bits of this behavior on the trail cameras yet it’s so calming to see the relaxed pace of this beaver.
That first afternoon, I followed “420” when s/he fully entered the river to swim upstream a few yards before taking the fast current downstream with head up. I tried to keep up from land and I guess I got noticed by the beaver on a wide open section, as I heard a loud splash like someone just did a cannonball. Not a tail slap but a big “plonk" and a long dive. I did not see this beaver surface again but we know they can swim underwater for half a mile or more. Those amazing beaver adaptations at work to conserve oxygen, including large lungs, a big liver that stores oxidized blood and slow circulation to its extremities, allowing beaver to stay submerged for up to 15 minutes.
Meet “4:20” at the Scent Mound Jan. 28-30 2021
New Activity on Scent Mound: Beaver with "love" bite?
Here’s some new footage of this beaver and amazing activity at the scent mound. The fresh scents applied by this adult does seem to keep another beaver with the tail notch informed that this area is occupied.