Are Beavers Vegetarians?
The article “Leave it Beavers” (Dec./Jan. 2011, Page 26) states that beavers eat only vegetation, but I beg to differ. I was once fishing on the banks of Sheep Creek, off the Parks Highway, when a beaver swam by with a fish head in his mouth. It climbed out on the bank about 10 feet from me and stood there chewing on it. After a few minutes, it returned to the river and retrieved another head, came out of the water and started eating again. Also, to my surprise, several fishermen in Alaska have told me that beavers eat fish. I have paid particular attention to articles on beavers, hoping to find anyone else that states that fish are a part of a beavers diet, but I have never encountered anything that backs up my observation.
The Untold Stories
So, according to the November issue, I’m not the only one who heads first to the obituaries in Alaska magazine. Andy Hall described the reasons for this perfectly in his editorial (“Remembering,” Page 4). I very much enjoy the cross-section of people, and it’s like finding a gold nugget when I recognize a name from Interior Alaska, where my family lived when my father worked at the hospital in Tanana. I agree, those glimpses into the lives of real Alaskans are “. . . a hint of untold stories.” The obituaries are as intriguing as a snippet on the back cover of a book. Thank you for rating these people worthy of space in Alaska.
|Naomi, we liked your letter and we are sending you an Alaska magazine coffee mug as a reward.|
Surviving a Bear Attack
An article about my bear-mauling incident was published in your November issue (“Geologist Survives Grizzly Bear Mauling Near Iditarod Trail,” Page 14). with a mistake that is potentially deadly. Experts agree that curling into a ball during a bear attack, as your article says I did, is not the correct action, as it exposes more sensitive sections of your body. The experts say that you should lay fully prone with your feet slightly spread and both hands clasped over the neck with the dominant hand clasping first. In this position the bear cannot roll you around and the first bite will usually be to a meatier area. I laid prone and still, and the first attack was less than five seconds long. Granted, a lot of damage was done in those seconds, but nothing lethal. I believe your article may have drastic results if a future bear mauling victim rolls into a ball because they think that is what saved me.
—Robert P. Miller, staff geologist,
Millrock Exploration Corporation
We apologize for the error and appreciate the correction. — Editor
For the Birds
I enjoyed Sherry Simpson’s article “Does Winter Make Bigger Brains?” in the Dec./Jan. issue (Page 70). Good facts and research, but I think the photo is a boreal chickadee rather than black-capped chickadee, on which the article focused.
Carol is correct; the image was a boreal chickadee. — Editor