Unwelcome House Guest - Iowa Wildlife Federation

Unwelcome House Guest

Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.

The giant Canada goose is the first waterfowl to begin nesting each spring; and at least a few females are already sitting on eggs.  One of those early nests is located atop a muskrat lodge at Lekwa Marsh on Clear Lake’s south shore.

While I was photographing the nest on March 24, the incubating goose received an unusual visitor when a large beaver popped up next to the lodge and quickly climbed aboard.  Once out of the water, the beaver shook, raised up on its hind legs, and began cleaning its fur.  Since beavers are strict vegetarians, the surprise guest posed no threat to the Canada’s eggs.  Nevertheless, the goose was obviously annoyed at the intrusion.  After receiving a few authoritative nips from the hen’s powerful mandibles, the docile furbearer took the hint and swam back into the cattails. 

Although the attending gander also realized that the beaver posed no threat to either his mate or their eggs, it became obvious that he didn’t feel the same about me.  As I concentrated on photographing the nest, he tried to become invisible by sinking low to the water.        LW

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