Beavers build lodges from woven sticks, grasses, and moss plastered with mud. These architectural marvels can be up to 8 feet wide and 3 feet high inside. A lodge is designed with at least two underwater “doors” to provide instant swimming access, while a “skylight” hole at the top lets in fresh air. There are two main rooms inside – one near the entrance that is used for eating and drying off and another used for sleeping and raising the young. On average, between four and eight beavers live in a lodge.
The Great White Oak at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary stands in a clearing on a popular forest hiking trail. It is considered a “near champion” at over fifteen feet in girth and over 250 years old. The nearby bench lends a quiet place to view it more closely.
Canada Geese are often seen near beaver lodges in the early Spring. The activity of the beavers leads to earlier thawing of the ice, providing the geese with a welcome habitat and food resources. This is an example of a symbiotic relationship in nature.
Whether you are on a porch or in the field, it’s still frosty in Massachusetts. Spring is due in five weeks for our creatures at Wachusett Meadow Audubon. By then, the icicles should melt off the grapevines and food should be easier to find everywhere.
This singular tree overlooking the wetlands at Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, MA is delightful in any season, but especially distinctive in Winter, when the details of its shape and the complex structure of its branches are on full display. I’m pleased that this photo was chosen as the current cover photo for Wachusett Meadow Facebook page.