By measuring the falling angle of 888 trees of a variety of sizes cut near 8 different dams in southwestern Saskatchewan, we tested the hypothesis that beavers (Castor canadensis) fell trees in a non-random direction. We predicted that trees would be preferentially felled towards the dam to minimize the costs of transporting materials to the dam and to minimize the amount of time beavers spend on land. We established a 150 m wide × 250 m long transect at each dam and determined the felling angle of at least 100 aspen trees cut in each transect. We found that trees were felled by beavers with a mean felling angle of 357.9°, a direction not significantly different from that of the dam. In all, 62% of trees were felled within 45° of the direction of the dam. While our data are consistent with the hypothesis, an experimental test is required to establish the reason(s) for the pattern we found.
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