Do beavers know which way a tree is going to fall?
Oliver Busby, an environmental consultant in Delta who deals with urban wildlife, says beavers typically fall trees “towards the water where they can further access them safely away from predators.” Trees on the shoreline also fall more predictably because they naturally lean towards open water; as beavers clean out the easy pickings and move inland the risks could increase.
“They have no idea what way a tree will fall, and some are killed by falling trees,” says Jack Lay, a veteran trapper based in Princeton and retired provincial problem-wildlife officer.
Partially caught cut trees abandoned by beavers also run the risk of falling down in the wind and posing a threat to anyone or anything in their path. One illustrative Internet youtube posting from the Large Herbivore Network shows a beaver repeatedly taking a few bites of a tree, and then hesitating, before scurrying away just before it falls. Clearly, logging is not something this animal takes for granted.
— Larry Pynn