Beaver retrieving a stick from its cache site and carrying it to a safe space to feed
When the beaver returned, I gently said, “Hello, friend” and put some of the cottonwood I’d brought out into the water. The beaver again sniffed the air, decided I was but an odd addition to the landscape, but not of immediate concern, and paddled up to the opposite bank. It lumbered onto shore, retrieved a freshly cut branch, and then swam downstream to feed.
Step 1 was easy – they’ve been cutting second-rate foods down for their winter cache, so I’ve been collecting primo cuts of their favorite Salicaceae (willows, cottonwoods, aspens). Step 2 is a bit tougher. Going once to a beaver pond does little to establish a relationship. So I’ve been trying to go down to the beaver pond 3-5 times a week, even if only during the day when the beavers aren’t active. Beavers can certainly remember individuals after a few interactions, but trust comes from more than just remembering.