Field Report 1: The Birds and the Beavers 3 Laws of Ecology
In all 3 Beaver Response Team sites we've been monitoring over the year, off the Middle Deschutes it’s hard not to notice the increase in more winged wonders this fall/winter. November ushered in the migratory ducks, geese, coots and more uppity robins than I remember last year. Our magnificent local yokels: herons, kingfishers, ravens, crows, osprey, hawks and eagles have also been observed more frequently whether out in the field and on the trail cameras. To give some perceptive, today my neighbor and dedicated “birder” Ilene downstream of Cline Falls amazingly counted 83 species of birds observed from her backyard over the past 2-3 months. (If you want the list, email me at email@example.com.)
I especially have noticed the Great Blue Herons stalking everywhere I put up a trail camera this month. It makes sense. The stations I am monitoring all have an abundance of soft fluffy sediment and off-river canals or pools dug by beavers. But I wonder if the heron’s food, the fish, are attracted to all the new tree bark debris that is being shed by the beavers- who are way more actively chewing and debarking tree limbs and branches as we see on cameras. Or is it the beavers "poop" as they do this in the water more than on land. Have the beavers set the table for other species to dine at too?
It makes me reflect on the founder of Sea Shepard Captain Paul Watson’s 3 Laws of Ecology. 1)The law of diversity: The strength of an eco-system is dependent upon the diversity of species within it. 2) The law of interdependence: All species are interdependent with each other. 3) Habitat: The law of finite resources: There are limits to growth and limits to carrying capacity.
It’s pretty great to see law #1: As where there are beavers there is certainly measured species richness. Now as winter solstice dances with the darkness and the light - the interdependence rule is truly felt if not seen.
Here’s some recent trail camera videos of Great Blue Heron’s fishing at the beaver monitoring stations this month.