20 February 2011

Opportunistic beaver eats beech

Edward Warren's 1927 book The Beaver, does not include the American beech (Fagus grandifolia) among the more than 12 species of trees that are listed as the food of the North American beavers (Castor canadensis). A much recent book, also called The Beaver, by Müller-Schwarze & Sun (2003), puts the beech in the 5th position in the order of tree preference of beavers.

During our walk today we encountered a large beech that had been knocked down by the strong winds we experienced during the past several days. Sections of its bark, where now the light brown wood is showing, had been stripped off by one or more beavers who obviously didn't want to miss out on this free dinner. I suppose in the middle of winter a windfall beech is preferred to a tastier tree that would require expenditure of energy to bring down.

Also notice the still standing younger beech in the back whose trunk had been gnawed by a beaver. The perpetrator will probably come back to finish off the tree.

1 comment:

Fred Schueler said...

I'd think Aspens, Poplars, Willows, Ashes, Dogwoods, Birches, Apple, Maples, and even Thuja Cedars would be preferred before Beech - that's at least six more-favoured genera. You can tell by the patchy way they've debarked that tree that they're not much fonder of Beech bark than you or I would be.