Never get between a beaver and its tree

beaverBy now you’re beginning to think this is a beaver blog. It’s not. I promise this is my last dam (sorry, couldn’t be helped) beaver post.

And it’s a good one.

As I’ve already written, a year-long beaver curse was broken in the spring of 2013 thanks to the kindness of photographer extraordinaire, Henry Holdsworth, and a little humility.

When Jill joined me for a week in Grand Teton National Park later that summer, helping her overcome the beaver curse was a priority. Plus, I wanted to spend more time with the curious critters at the lodge that I had discovered to be as close to a sure thing as you can find in wildlife photography.

The mission was an instantaneous success. Over the course of the week, we photographed at least 17 different beavers (by my count) – many at close range and exhibiting fun behaviour we had never witnessed before.

But my beaver learning curve continued to be an issue.


At one point, a very robust beaver decided it was hungry. It left the water, crossed the road and went up the forested hillside, out of sight. We heard considerable movement from the trees – including, incredibly, a large aspen falling a hundred yards up the hill – but I was unclear as to when, or even if, we’d spot the beaver again. I re-focused on its brethren that remained in the water.

Big mistake.

Have you ever felt like someone is watching you?


I had that spooky feeling while I was busy pressing down on my camera’s trigger and, apparently, so did Jill.

Unlike me, she turned around to look at what was giving her that feeling, and after discovering the culprit, suggested I turn around too. Someone wanted to get by.

The rotund, lumberjack beaver, apparently, had a predetermined route for his tree branch and was not going to take the long route to the pond, just because some inconsiderate photographer was blocking the path. The beaver was, no doubt, going to wait me out.

I moved aside, and with a look that said “a**hole”, he continued on his way into the pond to deliver his prized tree branch to the large beaver gathering taking place before us.

beaver carrying tree branch

Over the next week, we came to realize that this was a near daily pilgrimage, allowing us to capture the humorous animal as it struggled to carry awkward branches to the pond.

In fact, when we suggested to others at the beaver lodge that you shouldn’t stand in one particular spot, for it’s a beaver highway, we only received bemused looks – until the beaver made its nightly crossing.

beaver carrying tree branch

Apparently, a beaver must go where a beaver must go. And if you block its passage, it’ll just wait you out, treating you like the person double parked on a busy street during rush hour. Never say you weren’t warned.

– D. Simon Jackson |

4 thoughts on “Never get between a beaver and its tree

  1. Outstanding set of beaver photos and a fun read as well…very nicely done, Simon.

  2. Loved your photos and the story Simon! I too could watch beavers and never get tired of them. I know where you shot these and now I am mad at myself that we never saw them crossing the road. Thank you!!

  3. What a fantastic story and excellent photos. Thank you for sharing and I hope it is not your last beaver post!

  4. Simon – a wonderful story and photos! I sure hope this isn’t your last beaver post. They are awesome animals, aren’t they? I used to live on the Skookumchuck River in Tenino, Washington, and watched them nighty. I never tired of them. I truly hope you keep those beaver stories coming!

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