It has been a busy badger week at Yew View. We have activity all year around, but things have been changing over the last few weeks and it is really fascinating to watch and to try to work out why such movements of individuals is happening. Increasingly, I have been coming to the conclusion that our artificial setts are being used as satellite or annex setts, which are commonly a short distance from a main sett. I have tried to find out more about the use of such, but there seems to be very little research or information into this. Our original artificial sett at Yew View (without the camera inside the chambers) has been used by a variety of individuals, mainly youngsters who may have been ousted from the main sett. Recently we have had a female with 2 of this year’s cubs. She also appeared in the camera sett a lot in the last few months. I think she is using these setts as she is not a dominant sow and became pregnant. Normally only the dominant sow will reproduce.
A lot of new activity has been observed this week. I noticed a badger appearing on the otter cam….
Also, we had some aggressive behaviour at on of the artificial setts. There is a male now resident with some wounds on its rump. It has obviously been fighting. I captured this moment when it was chased by another, even larger male…
This male with the rump wounds seems to be staying here and I filmed it taking bedding down into the sett…
I also captured this moment when a different badger, obviously known to ‘wounded-rump’ , made an appearance. They greeted each other and then you see them rubbing themselves against each other. Badger have sub-caudal glands that secrete an odour. From reading up on this, I understand that the behaviour exhibited here is usually seen when individuals have not seen each other for a few days. They rub their glands on the other individual, covering them in the ‘clan’ scent. This helps them to identify fellow clan members easily and strengthens bonds between clan individuals. The mutual grooming also helps to re-establish and strengthen bonds between individuals.
I love capturing footage like this as it gives such a great insight into their behaviour and life.
We still have a number of individuals feeding at the feeding station, but mainly the female with the 2 cubs, from what I can see. It is hard to identify them all as individuals unless they have something that makes them particularly characteristic.
One of the most interesting happenings in the last few weeks has been the digging of a new sett! This is down on the river bank; not a very sensible place to dig as it will flood at some point this winter I expect. There is only one entrance as far as I can see, but a huge amount of soil had been excavated.
I set a trail camera there last week and then collected the card this week. I had a huge amount of footage! It seems that my female with the 2 cubs has moved from the camera sett, down to here, possibly due to the 2 other large males now there. This little family seem quite settled here and I got some lovely footage of them chilling up on the bank!
It will be interesting to see how this story pans out in the coming months. My badger setts will feature on Autumnwatch on Monday 23rd October on BBC 2 , 8pm, so watch out for me!