What a Difference a Day Makes - UPDATE November 11, 2020

Beaver lodge on 11/10Beaver lodge on 11/10 Beaver lodge on 11/11Beaver lodge on 11/11


The two pictures of the old beaver lodge across Woods Lake show the change that occurred overnight with six inches of snowfall. One picture was taken yesterday, the other today.

New beaver lodge on Woods LakeNew beaver lodge on Woods Lake

Unlike this unoccupied lodge that is covered with snow, the new lodge where the beavers are spending this winter is snowless and stands out black a little way down the shore. Their winter food cache can be seen in the water (suddenly encased in ice) just outside the lodge.


Last night at 10 PM with snow beginning to fall, a fisher (Pekania pennanti) celebrated the return of winter with a visit to a downstairs window at the WRI. These weasels are a lot bigger than their cousin the American Pine Marten (Martes americana) that weighs only a couple pounds and lives up on the third floor. I believe this fisher is big enough to be a male that would weigh between 8 and 13 pounds and be 3 to 4 feet long. A lot of his length is his tail that gives him the species name pennant. His name fisher has nothing to do with fishing. They don’t even eat fish.

Short-tailed weaselShort-tailed weasel Short-tailed weaselShort-tailed weasel


Today, a treat was seeing a short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea), a.k.a., a stoat or an ermine. It disappeared under the first floor deck. I haven’t seen one of these little weasels here for years, so I cranked open a window and made a soft, high whistle. This predator of small mammals immediately appeared from under a step and listened and looked in all directions. It never looked up where the camera was clicking, though. Then I saw something I would not have predicted. A red squirrel weighing about three quarters of a pound came close, and the ½-pound weasel ran for the woods with the squirrel a couple feet behind.

Back in 2007, one of these weasels gave birth in the garage. On May 29, she carried her 7 babies one by one down the hill to the shore of Woods Lake. There, a rocky area with many crevices provided them with protection. They live 4 to 6 years in the wild, so it could have been the same mother that I saw carry a single baby in her mouth from the garage to the rocky area on May 19, 2011.

We are still monitoring Lily with a trail cam.

On this Veteran’s Day, we want to recognize and honor the many who helped protect our freedom in America by serving in the military.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center