Sunday, 20 April 2014

Badgers Free Range Easter Eggs

The weather has been a complete joy with plenty of sunshine along with a drying easterly wind. All the wet ground almost a fading memory.
The Badger cubs are getting stronger every day and to my delight, Daddy Cool on Friday evening decided that his whole family were to move and so like a well-rehearsed play they were off with Daddy Cool leading the way followed by the cubs with Mrs Badger bringing up the rear. After twenty minutes or so it was obvious to me where he was taking them all. He was taking them north to where the woodland gives way to the sweeping valley below.  Very often I have watched Daddy Cool in this imposing place and long ago I had nick named this extraordinary vantage point as the ‘Throne of Daddy Cool’ for when you climb up into it you can see for miles, right the way down through the valley and beyond. Daddy Cool would put his head up into the air, sniffing this way and that detecting scents from miles around. 
Down in the valley where they take their night time excursions, worms and slugs are going to be bountiful.  Their future is looking extremely promising. 
The last few nights last year’s cubs have joined in with all the playful frolicking and I feel sure that it will not be too long before the rest of the Badgers join Daddy Cool and his family on the Northern boundary.  It always strikes me as quite amusing, but my Badgers, the ones I watch and study, they always wait for leaf cover before offering their young to the outside, when they seem to be more relaxed and at peace moving their young through the woodland.  Each autumn, the ritual is totally reversed when they move back into the thick heart of the wood to winter and to eventually have their cubs. 
As I watched all the Badgers varying in ages right down to the cubs of the present day you see a remarkable bond.  It’s a woodland community worthy of the word ‘Community’ because they really do seem to look out and look after one another. 
The Cull zones of 2013 annihilated and destroyed Badger habitats forever.  The program put in place by Owen Paterson, our Environmental Secretary and DEfRA stating that “70% of the Badgers were to be taken out cleanly by marksmen” was a gross exaggeration. The reality of the situation was far more barbaric and grizzly with Badgers being wounded and in some cases taking days to die in their setts.  An animal that has always stood squarely on his own four paws, an animal who looks after and cares for his own, an animal that truly enhances nature and the habitat in which he lives is worth far more respect than Owen Paterson and DEfRA has him earmarked for. 
The Coopers have been informed on Daddy Cool’s move to the Northern boundary and they have already taken up supplies, kettle and teabags for their spring and summer night stakeouts.  The Coopers, just like me deem the whole Badger Cull debacle as an excuse by some deranged individuals to wage war on Badgers.  Badger baiting is on the up and this is my gravest concern.  The cruelty and mind numbing violence metered out to a British icon is something I blame Owen Paterson and DEfRA for.  By having any kind of Badger cull whatsoever, you are immediately weakening the protected status of the British Badger. By definition, the words ‘Badger Cull’ is to kill Badgers. 
Our Princess Royal who favours the gassing of Badger setts as being the most humane way to deal with the situation also said in her piece to the BBC on how it will lead to larger hedgehog numbers and lots more ground nesting birds, as if the British Badger is in anyway responsible for the falling numbers in hedgehogs and ground nesting birds.  Total utter nonsense.  Misguided propaganda at the expense of a British icon.  Hedgehog numbers are down.  One of the main reasons for this is the amount of poisonous slug pellets sold in our garden centres and ground nesting bird numbers are down solely due to the change to British farming practises.  Thirty years ago our main stock feed in the winter was hay, this would be cut in the middle of June, and by this time ground nesting birds had flown the nest.  Nowadays however, so many hay meadows are used for the making of silage, the first cut being on a good season, can be the second week of May when most ground nesting birds have young still on the nest.
The Badger, in reality has got so very few faults, much like our country Fox.  He lives on his wits and he lives always not far from the edge, bending and shaping his years’ activities to the greatest power on earth, Mother Nature and he wears her like a glove in total harmony of the habitat and conditions around him.

The Badgers Easter treat this year and like every other Easter is a dozen free range chicken eggs which they roll about for a bit and then devour with relish.  Happy Easter my black and white friends.

Please watch my short film of Mother Badger playing with her cubs.

One of my favourite and enjoyable pass times, watching Badgers happy, frolicking about, playing with Mum.

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