Beavers save Great Blue Heron nesting ground

great blue heron nesting photo
© Sterling Nature Center

Beavers and Great Blue Herons might seem like unlikely bedfellows, but a recent beaver-led construction project on the grounds of a nature center in New York is proving yet again that symbiosis can be oh so satisfying.

The forested grounds of Sterling Nature Center, nestled along the shore of Lake Ontario in Sterling, NY has long been a haven for local wildlife and nature-lovers. It wasn't until the early 1990s however, when group of beavers settled along a creek there and constructed a dam, that the park would welcome its most popular inhabitants -- dozens of Great Blue Herons.

As it turns out, the 80-acre pond and defoliated trees which resulted from the beaver dam created an ideal fishing ground for the birds, and as many as 65 herons chose the spot to hatch their young. The beavers were happy; the birds were happy; and, thanks to the crowds they drew, the nature center was happy too.

This June, that all changed.

According to The Post-Standard, a strong storm this summer destroyed the beavers' dam, draining the pond and leaving the Great Blue Herons high, and most unfortunately, dry. As the months passed and the ground dried up, nature center's director Jim D'Angelo worried that the beloved animals wouldn't return. But thankfully the beavers weren't about to let a little setback ruin a good thing.

In just the past two weeks, the busy beavers managed to build a brand new dam a bit further downstream. And, after some recent rain, the pond filled up once again -- helping to ensure that the symbiotic relationship goes unbroken.

"It's one of those neat things with nature," says D'Angelo. "You can guess or anticipate, but wildlife will do what it does."

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