Danube Island of Vienna - Renaturation attracts beavers

Danube Island of Vienna - Renaturation also attract beavers

We had already reported about the artificial Danube Island, which had been erected several years ago to protect floods in the city of Vienna, in order to create the largest possible floodplains in the case of floods.

However, a combination has been created here which provides a presentable solution for near-natural recreation areas and retreats for water birds and amphibians of all kinds, and even large events are possible without disturbing the sensitive balance.

By the help of excellent infrastructure in form of cycling and hiking trails, it is possible to open up these areas for local cyclists and hikers as well as for travel tourists, who are interested in local destinations for the city dwellers of Vienna. We were more than astonished about the architectural design that was used to create combinations of motorway crosses and cycle paths, which we learned to know (see photos). If the river banks are also integrated as bathing beaches with restaurant and other recreation facilities, there is a wide range of users too.

We wanted to use our walk to the Danube Island to explore the natural areas that have become a permanent retreat for all types of waterbirds and parallel as the intermediate station for birds on the flight to the south. And water birds are by no means the only inhabitants of the Danube Island. First of all, we directly went to the cycling trail at the New Danube Campsite which safely took us to the Danube Island, away from the noise and below the motorway crossroads. After about 20 minutes, we reached the natural areas with their brackish and shallow water zones, small water courses form a natural boundary for the protected areas. Soon, however, we came upon traces of another settler: traces at broken trees, created by the beaver.

Beaver is a semiaquatic mammal, which habitat is flowing and standing waters and its watersides. On land it only moves slowly because of his bulky physique. Its physique is perfectly adapted to life in and around the water. The beaver populates watercourses in all sizes, from the first-order river to the drainage ditch. It can also take on all forms of still waters, from the pond to the sea. If only small areas of habitat are available to it, the beaver is sometimes very adaptable and settles in unusual places, for example in the middle of villages or directly at motorways, as on the Danube Island in Vienna ,

The beaver is a pure herbivore, preferring herbs, shrubs, aquatic plants and laurels, such as aspens, alders and poplars. From the trees it felled, it consumed the branches, the peeling and the leaves, what we could discover in several places. Actually, however, it is a vegetable omnivorous, it also feeds on grasses and reeds. The beaver is dawning and nocturnal, so no wonder we could not observe an active beaver. When cutting its fodder trees, it uses an "hourglass technique"; The wood is gnawed in the form of an hourglass until the tree falls. Depending on the hardness of the wood a beaver can fall a tree up to 50 cm thick in one night.

In the beaver´s home usually are about two to four (sometimes up to ten) residential buildings of different forms. The entrance to the living room is always below the water level, the living room itself is over water. The living space inside can reach a diameter up to 120 centimeters and a height up to 60 centimeters. If the bank's crust is steep enough, the beaver burrows a cave and links it with so-called beaver tubes. These can be feeding pipes, escape pipes and play tubes. If there is a dwelling-house in dam projects of the beaver, or in an island-like building surrounded by water, of suitable building material, it is called castle of beaver. If the building is dry, it is left, cause then enemies have easier access.

Beavers are known for their dam buildings, with which they accumulate streams and even artificial ponds. The dam primarily contributes to ensuring a water level above the entrance to the residential building of as much as 60 cm and a secure water area around the castle. Beaver dams in flowing waters are threatened with heavy rainfall. Beavers can open their dams to allow floodwater to run faster and protect their dams. In this way, they regulate the water level of their area and enable even more sensitive aquatic plants to flourish in the pond, which can then serve as a food for the beaver.

Please read as well:

On the way to Danube Island in Vienna - Camping Neue Donau

Walk along the Danube and its old river beds


Life | Outdoors