Sunday, October 16, 2011
By Hope Ryden
For four years naturalist Hope Ryden studied a family of beavers that lived on a stream in a park in New York State. She was able to observe the beavers even in winter and at night, when the animals were most active. She was with them as their family grew with the arrival of babies every spring. She brought them branches to supplement their food supply when she was concerned they might starve. She and a friend helped the beavers repair their dam when vandals tore a huge hole in it. And she drove away a trio of people who were possibly trying to raid the beaver lodge for the vulnerable beaver kits inside, the kits to be sold as pets. She came to identify with the beavers and gave them all names and worried about their welfare. Eventually she realized it was time to move on and leave the beavers to manage on their own after the matriarch of the beaver family died of old age.
If you have ever been at all curious about beavers then this is a great book to read. It details the lives of the Lily Pond beavers, their trials and tribulations, their triumphs and accomplishments and their remarkable ability to engineer their environment to suit their purposes. Really, beavers are amazing animals and this book is an excellent window on the their hidden world.