One of the best parts about spring is that it offers some of the the best opportunities to see two of Algonquin Provincial Park’s most famous mammals.
May has become famous for watching moose in Algonquin, but April is the best time to observe its smaller and toothier associate, the beaver.
What makes April the best time to watch beavers?
During the month of In April, as the warmth of the spring sun melts the winter ice, the Algonquin ponds slowly begin to open. These ponds are home to the park’s beaver population, and after a long winter spent mostly restricted to their lodge and under the ice, they are quickly embracing the freedom of spring!
When summer visitors see beavers in the park, they are likely to see a beaver swimming across a pond from a distance, with their bodies almost submerged. April visitors can see beavers out of the water, perched on the ice and enjoying the fresh spring air. Partially melted pond ice ledges quickly become an outdoor spa and patio for grooming and feeding, but also provide them with a quick escape to the water should a predator approach.
While they groom and feed, Park visitors can also witness beaver behavior that is not as easily seen in other months. These few weeks in April easily provide the best viewing opportunities of the entire year.
Note: The main beaver viewing season is brief in the park. Ideal conditions exist when ponds are partially melted. The exact timing can vary from year to year, but early or mid-April is often best. The best place to look for them is where the ice ledges meet the open water.
Best Locations for Spring Beaver-wfishing in Algonquin
One of the best places in the park to watch spring beavers is on Opeongo Road, just off Highway 60 on the north side at km 46.3.
This trail features multiple beaver ponds with lots of beaver activity. This road has much less traffic than the highway, making it better for wildlife viewing. There are a few designated parking spots along the road, so don’t try to park on the narrow shoulders.
Just driving down Highway 60, you will undoubtedly see a lot of beaver activity in the roadside wetlands. If you want to stop, do so with caution and remember that this is a busy provincial highway. See the tips below for viewing tips on roads and highways.
Guidelines for wildlife viewing
- Maintain a respectful distance from wildlife. – A respectful distance allows the animal to continue behaving normally and provides a clear path away from people. A respectful distance would be at least 10 to 15 meters (33 to 50 feet).
- Don’t outstay your welcome – It is an incredible experience to spend time observing wild animals, however, observing them for prolonged periods of time could stress them out. Know some of the signs of stressed wildlife and move on before then (beavers will slap the surface of the water with their tails).
- Observe wildlife from the side of the road/highway.
- Always leave the busy part of the road (towards the paved shoulder)
- Turn on your hazard lights to inform other drivers that you have stopped
- If you exit your vehicle, look both ways before crossing the street.
- If the area where you have sighted wildlife does not have a safe shoulder, go to a safe place to stop and walk back safely to make your sighting.
Some other wet, furry animals you might see at the edge of the ice.
Beavers are not the only animals that take advantage of newly melted ice. muskrats, It can also be seen at the edge of the ice, a regular inhabitant of the beaver pond, doing practically the same thing as beavers: grooming and feeding.
You might think that a muskrat is a baby beaver, since they look quite similar. Look for its long, narrow tail rather than the paddle-shaped tail of the beaver.
A pair of semi-aquatic weasels also settle on the edge of the ice. He american mink It has reddish-brown fur and moves quickly along the water’s edge, and is an excellent swimmer.
The other weasel, the river otter, is much larger than mink. It can be seen in small family groups. Otters are quite playful and their antics delight photographers.