Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The new dam builders: the Beavers ; Author; Nan Van Daalen

49: The new dam builders: the Beavers.

Did you hear that tree falling? It was an enormous thud, and all the branches took other branches with them. Still, nobody was hurt. While everybody around did know, it was going to happen.
Of course, while our little friends did tell everybody, that their friends, the Beavers, had woken up out of their half-sleepy winter slumber, and start building again.
That is something, that happens all over the world in spring. And we have learned lately, that all things in nature have a reason, mostly good, even when we do not fully understand all yet.
Why can Beavers build a dam and it is good for nature, and sometime we humans do build a dam, and besides the electricity it often creates havoc? Do you know?
Well, one of my little friends did tell me. Beavers build their dams as a home, that in the same time is there provision store. That is: they do eat the leaves and bark of trees, and the softer branches, while the inside is sweet and nutritious for them.
To get what they need, they have very strong teeth to gnaw the bark, than the inside of the tree, going around it, until it falls. Than they take of the braches with their teeth again, and pull them in their home, called Beaver dam, to strengthen it and have food for a long time. Are they not very busy and hard working?
And while they do love their food fresh, and a Beaver family cannot eat a whole tree, no also not a smaller one, in one go, they do build their dams on a place in a pond or river, where most time of the year is enough currant to keep all fresh.
So they create the landscape, that is fit for them to live in. And the water gets deep enough by this, to have the entrance of their home under water.
This way the young Beavers in spring are happy living in protected chambers of wood, surrounded by the food they need, as soon as they do not suckle anymore.
And between the Beavers home and the rest of the water, there always is place for fish to spawn, that is laying their eggs, between the branches. So it also does protect other animals.
And what happens, if we humans interfere, while we want a good fishing pond, that is deeper than the one, the beavers did build?
Well, they look at the digging from a distance, look at the food store that is also there, and when the spot stays perfect, and there are enough young trees, that promise food for years, they come back and rebuild their dam.
That story went around in this spring festival, while it was that time of year, when all came together, remember? The elf did tell this story to us.
In my country a lot of people are glad, that there are Beavers, that create a special sort of landscape. Some people go out there in a canoe to watch them from a distance.
The little people also are their friends of course, for the wood, to heavy for the Beavers to be drawn to their dams, is used by other animals, so nobody does notice, the dwarf and elf take a share for their own homes, to create the safe place for themselves and the animals they do help.
This year the spring-solstice feast in Holland is celebrated in the Biesbos, a nature reserve, where our Beavers do live, and a lot of other animals.
The Beavers did create a dry place, by letting the trees fall in such a way, they could gnaw of the big branches, and after that there was a circle left, for every one, who wanted to celebrate with them.
What a pity I am to big, and have to do, with what my friends do tell about it! It was marvelous.
But I have not told yet, why our dams are not always good, while the Beavers dams are. Well, we do build our dams strong and nearly straight up, and make holes in them, where we put machines in to make electricity for the people.
To get enough power, the lake behind it has to be huge, and the holes for the water small, so the currant is strong. To strong for the fish to pass by or lay their eggs.
And some dams are placed in rivers, that are the only place, that some kinds of fish can lay their eggs. That did their parent fishes a long time already, and all other animals counted on that for their own food too, while that is how things go.
Although man have thought to make a kind of stairs, where the fish can swim and each time leap to a little bit higher spot, it often does not work so well as what in nature was created.
So what can we do to help all, and also ourselves?
We do look very well what is happening, and if we need a dam or create something else, we look how nature itself did solve the problem.
We like to go fishing when we are grown up too, at least I would.
And you? Just as I did think, you too!
© Nan van Daalen.

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