[The second part of the beaver’s labor of Hercules. One more part will follow, on their food preparations.]
Now that the beavers have got everything ready, the construction project can begin.
The lodge may be a new-build, or a renovation of a fixer-upper. This year, it was the latter. This one is out in the middle of the pond,
so I took my kayak out to get close enough for a good look.
There is no intricate weaving like a bird’s nest, but the beavers create a rough tepee, and a hole is left open at the top for air to escape.
Once the structure is in place, they add a layer of mud, plastered down carefully:
More branches and mud get added as they see fit. Sometimes they seem to get over-excited and build higher and higher, like this exuberant creation, the Sagrada Familia* of Western Maine:
If this was a new lodge, once they have created a giant heap they would excavate the inside from underwater, creating a chamber for the adults and, hopefully, their young, who will be born in mid-winter.
Because they are nocturnal, I rarely see them at work, but eight years ago I captured this shot of a beaver building his abode, on the same beaver pond:
Talk about D.I.Y. I think I’d rather get the builders in.
* Sagrada Familia is a cathedral in Barcelona designed by Gaudí, started in 1882, and scheduled to be finished in 2026! It is famous for its pseudo-Gothic over-the-top extravagance: