Over the years, Huron County Nature Center visitors occasionally came across gnawed tree trunks and branches – the tell-tale sign that beavers are present. Unfortunately, since beavers are primarily nocturnal, few people have seen a beaver on Nature Center property.
But that all changed this November. The Nature Center’s President, Kathy Kent, and Naturalist, Caitlin Stone-Webber, noticed a peculiar gathering of sticks in the marsh along Loosemore Road. Observing the area at dusk and using trail cameras, they confirmed what they suspected – beavers were building a lodge to prepare for the winter.
Cover Photo: A beaver, at the Huron County Nature Center, searches for tree bark, aquatic plants, and grasses.
Beaver Habitat includes Michigan’s Thumb
Beavers, found throughout much of North America, are semi-aquatic, spending much of the time in the water, using their webbed feet to swim. They build lodges in ponds and streams to prepare for winter. Beavers do not hibernate, remaining active in winter, even swimming beneath the ice. They are herbivorous, eating bark and small twigs, and store small sections of logs underwater near their lodge to eat later. In the wild, their lifespan is 10 to 15 years.
Beavers Building Habits No Problem at HCNC
Although beavers’ dams can lead to flooding or blocked culverts, the lodge the beavers are building along Loosemore Road seems unlikely to cause any issues since it is in an area where there is no appreciable flow of water. In addition, the Nature Center has marked the location of the lodge with a sign stating that the area is being monitored and that hunting and trapping are prohibited on Nature Center property (which is owned by Huron County). Neal Hentschl, Secretary-Manager of the Huron County Road Commission, has been consulted by the Nature Center and doesn’t expect the beaver lodge to create any difficulties. “Given the beaver’s lodge location, I don’t expect any problems. I think it’s great that the beavers have chosen such a visible place to build a home. It will allow our residents a great opportunity to see an important part of nature close up.”
How To See a Beaver At HCNC
If you are in the area of the beaver’s lodge, please keep a respectful distance away and be as quiet as possible. Since beavers are primarily nocturnal and very wary of people, chances are you will not see one, but you can follow updates on the beavers’ activities by visiting the Nature Center’s website and Facebook page. The directors and volunteers at the nature center encourage you to follow along on Facebook and join in this nature “teachable moment”!
About the Huron County Nature Center (HCNC)
Huron County Nature Center, Inc. is a Michigan non-profit corporation with Section 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code. HCNC operates the nature center, including its hiking and biking trails, visitor center, and amphitheater, on County-owned land located along Loosemore Road just east of Oak Beach Road between Port Austin and Caseville. HCNC, incorporated in 1991, is an all-volunteer organization that relies almost entirely on donations and grants for its operating expenses. The nature center dates to 1941 and was initially managed by the Huron County Women’s Clubs. More information about the Huron County Nature Center can be found at https://www.huronnaturecenter.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/HCnaturecenter/.
Contact: Phone: (989) 551-8400, Email: [email protected]