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A Grand Design: Beaver Architecture

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.

Beaver Lodge, Wildlife Pond, Wachusett Meadow Audubon, Princeton, MA

A Real Head-Turner

This Sharp-Shinned Hawk has no problems keeping a look-out in all directions. It can turn its head 180 degrees.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Princeton, MA

Otter Pond

This photograph recently appeared on Massachusetts Audubon’s weekly Facebook feature, “Weekend Goals”. Wishing you a relaxing weekend!

Otter Pond, Wachusett Meadow Audubon, Princeton, MA

Just Add Bluebirds

Bluebirds arrive in Central Massachusetts during the month of March. Dozens of bluebird boxes in the meadow are ready for occupancy.

Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary, Princeton, MA

An Ancient Companion

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.

Summit Trail, Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary, Princeton, Masachusetts

Winter Woods Gem

Encountering this unexpected “treasure” enhanced a recent Winter hike.

Beaver Bend Trail, Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary, Princeton, MA

Meadow Lands

The juvenile eastern bluebird keeps watch over the Wachusett Meadow Audubon in Princeton, MA.

Here’s Looking at You

This brilliantly colored Scarlet Tanager paused outside my window for a short while today, just in time to be added to the bird count of Massachusetts Audubon’s Bird-a-thon.

Mass Audubon explains that “its largest fundraiser brings together supporters from across the state to raise essential funds for nature conservation, education, and advocacy”.

Because of the virus, this year all sightings were completed from the areas right around the participants’ homes.

Getting Along

Inspirational examples of coexistence are common in every season at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon in Princeton, MA.

Stopping at the Lodge

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.

-Wachusett Meadow Audubon, Princeton, MA

Cold Snap

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.

Friends of Mass Audubon Wachusett Meadow

Just a few of the “friends” I’ve had the pleasure to see these past months at the Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, MA.

Barred Owl
Red Squirrel
Phoebe
Sheep
Bobolink
Red-tailed Hawk
American Turkey
Black Bear
Red Fox
White-tailed Deer
Juvenile Raccoon
Great Blue Heron
Painted Turtles
Mallard Duck
Canada Goose
Black-capped Chickadee

Beaver Wetlands

Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, MA is home to an eighty-five acre beaver wetland–one of the largest in Massachusetts. A sign along the trails reminds visitors that:

• Beavers are a keystone species, providing habitat for many other animals and plants.

• Beaver wetlands are highly advantageous to wildlife, providing wetlands in various stages from open water to wet meadows.

•These wetlands provide habitat for moose, great blue heron, wood duck, dragonflies, amphibians and aquatic plants.

One of several beaver lodges partially covered with snow.
Last Summer, this beaver could be seen munching on plants most evenings.
Boardwalk at the edge of the wetlands with the snow just melting.
The long expanse of reeds. Benches give visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the landscape.
A wood duck box. I was fortunate to view this shy species of duck last summer.
The wind-blown reeds close-up.
A Great Blue Heron visits the main pond most Summer afternoons.

Winter Wolf Tree

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.

https://www.facebook.com/MassAudubonWachusettMeadow/

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