I’ve always felt a little funny about living in a town named for a big rodent. Beaverton sounds like a town in a Seth McFarland TV cartoon.
But recently I’ve been having some interesting wildlife experiences around here. The other day I went down to Fanno Creek Trail just south of Denny Rd. to collect some grass samples. (I’ve already admitted to being kind of obsessed with grass lately.) Sure enough, there were plenty of the grass species there like the ones on the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge–where we don’t take samples.
As I walked the bike path along the shallow bog formed by Fanno Creek, however, I spotted something unexpected. Near the spot where my wife and I videoed a Great Blue Heron swallowing two garter snakes a couple of months ago I saw several shrub trunks lying in the water and pointing in random directions (above).
How did this happen? Did a work crew cut them down for some reason? Looking more closely it became clear they had been chewed off on a diagonal angle a few inches above the water. But more importantly there were clear telltale teeth-marks on the stumps! Could there be beaver(s) here in this shallow, almost stagnant pond? Well, this is Beaverton but a long way from any free-flowing water this time of year.
For a great new documentary about beavers and their role in the ecosystem see the PBS Nature Episode: Leave It to Beavers.