Beaver lodge critter cam

In Box readers have already heard about Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Great Blue Heron web camera. That two-camera set-up offers wonderful views. As many have commented, the soothing natural sound alone is worth the visit. And, hey, if there was ever a week where a mental health break came in handy, this was it. (Life – precious life – goes on.)

So, I had similar hopes for another natural oasis when I read about a beaver lodge camera.

This “Beaver Whisperers” project is jointly produced by CBC TV’s “The Nature of Things” and Eco-Odyssée, a privately-run Quebec nature destination some 30 minutes north of Ottawa.  (A feature video on the topic of beavers was presented on”The Nature of Things”. Regrettably, the full video is only available within Canada.)

According to the Eco-Oydssée website, their back story goes like this:

What’s one to do with 500 acres of land that comprises a 70 acre marsh, agricultural fields and rolling mountains accentuated by a magnificent mixed forest. This was the question that Michel Leclair asked himself upon acquiring this vast property located just outside of the charming town of Wakefield.

Anyway, proprietor Michel Leclair has been observing a female beaver he named Pollux for 8 years. Contacted about a beaver cam, Leclair thought that site and her family would suit. Clan members now include Castor, Amik, Boulotte and Peluche. Leclair is tweeting updates and tips about what the beavers are up to.

And? Well, my initial reaction is renewed admiration for the rich simplicity of the Cornell project! (And its reliability.) 

Not much happening inside the lodge. Screen shot from The The Beaver Whisperers

I suppose it is to be expected, but visitors to this CBC site must endure TV-style ads to get to the featured material. Next, sometimes the video is down (unavailable). This CBC article about the project includes reader comments, including a number of annoyed swipes at ads and uncertain video feeds at the site.

Next, when it’s working, beaver lodge camera 1 (inside the lodge) disappoints somewhat for being in black and white, with a camera angle that doesn’t show much. There’s no sound either. (Though perhaps there wouldn’t be a lot to hear in there anyway?) A full morning of intermittent viewing consisted of grey fur that sometimes moved.

To be fair, I haven’t been visiting very often and there may be better days than the one I saw. Shortcomings aside, without a camera like this, how often would one otherwise get to see the inner workings of daily life in a lodge? So it is worth something.

Beavers are fascinating, important creatures. Communicating that to a broader audience is worthwhile.

The “Beaver Whisperer” website is a cheerful smorgasbord of diverse information and images, some of which are slow to load, but offer good views. Plus we get tidbits like this:

If you see a couple of muskrats, don’t be surprised, they are guests! The two species often lodge together. Muskrats are the ultimate bad houseguests; they eat the food, hog the beds and never leave! The muskrats tend to be more active during the day.

Good to know: don’t invite muskrats. I wonder why the beavers don’t seem to mind?

Meanwhile, if you want an uplifting dose of nature with fewer hassels and a good chat side-bar, Cornell’s blue heron site is hard to beat!

Three eggs (and counting?) as of Friday – and not a bomb or SWAT team in sight. Although nature is no picnic either. There can still be great horned owls that come a raiding at night.

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