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The good news is that Filbert does not know that you forgot his birthday last year. This is primarily because Filbert is a beaver at the Oregon Zoo, and therefore pretty much unaware of anything happening anywhere else, let alone whether you, in the first dread-filled weeks of the pandemic in this country, remembered that it was his birthday. Filbert, we can presume, spent that birthday more or less the way he spends every day, which is doing the stuff beavers do—gathering sticks and branches and trying his (sorry) damnedest to use them to keep moving water from flowing.

Even by beaver standards, Filbert works hard at this, which is why zookeepers have nicknamed him The Branch Manager. A birthday, a plague, any other distraction would not matter to him, or not matter nearly as much as that work. So while he probably would have appreciated your birthday greetings last April 19, he was also at work living his life just as surely as you were living yours.

This year is different, though. For one thing, Filbert is turning 10. For another, this website now exists to remind you of his birthday. Here, in this new year, is how Filbert celebrated.

Presumably he got back to moving sticks around after this. This is how it goes. But this time, we can at least take a moment to celebrate the happy occasion.

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