Posts Tagged ‘road death’

Scarlett in the Field Behind My HouseOK, I haven’t done much for a while, I admit.  Mrs BWM has been working at the weekends (including a practice event for the Olympics – she’s a volunteer announcer and they were having a dry run) so I’ve been on parenting duty and confined to home except for the odd short walk.  I remember the good old days when Scarlett was little and she’d happily be carried for hours.  Not any more.

But this is still my diary, so I have a few things to note.  Firstly, I came across another dead badger on the main road.  I saw it this morning on my way to the shops, in almost exactly the same place as the road casualty of July 23rd.  On that occasion the dead badger vanished, causing me some confusion.  I looked closely at this one, to make sure that I wasn’t imagining it.  Good thing too, as by the time I came back an hour or so later, the badger had disappeared.  There must be a sett around here somewhere; and I can only imagine that, being a main road, the bodies get picked up pretty quickly.  I wonder how many road casualties occur that I don’t notice, even in our village?

While we’re on this morbid subject, we’ve had some trouble from a fox attacking chickens lately.  There are at least a couple of foxes locally – I see their tracks regularly – but not nearly so many as we had in London.  This is pheasant country, and there are rearing pens around the village.  The keepers are not fond of foxes.  Probably not fond of any other carnivores either, but certainly not foxes.  Incidentally, a couple of years ago a fox got into the penguin enclosure at the nearby safari park and wreaked terrible havoc among the young penguins.  Foxes were even less popular around here after that, I can tell you.

Anyway, our neighbour lost one chicken last week, killed in daylight.  A couple of days later, our own Mabel went the same way, a patch of feathers telling the story.  Poor Henrietta had a narrow squeak but escaped with cuts and bruises, only to fall victim on Friday.  So it’s RIP Mabel and Henrietta.  They’d had a good life – four and a half years – with no trouble.  They have a fox-proof house in which they sleep, but this is the first time we’ve had a fox in the daytime, hence their run is not fully protected (which takes either a 6-foot tall dug-in fence, or an electric one).

On the whole, I like foxes.  They are attractive, interesting to watch and great survivors.  They do what they do, not out of spite or malice, but to eat and live.  But I love them a little less after this.

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Yet another road casualty

When I drove to work on Wednesday there was another dead badger on the road through the woods on the outskirts of the village, almost exactly the same spot as the casualties of October last year and April this year.  I had a train to catch so I couldn’t stop to check the sex, but it looked fully grown.  When I came home at the end of the day it had been moved from the road (hopefully just onto the verge, but you hear odd rumours of people taking dead badgers away.  I don’t even want to think what for…)

This makes three badgers in a year killed here, almost certainly from the same sett.  I hope the sett is big enough to withstand the losses.  It must be a fairly active one – I’ll have to see if I can locate it when I get time.

So it goes…

I’m aware that anyone visiting this site will be confronted by depressingly regular tales of dead badgers.  I’m sorry about this.  It isn’t my intention to focus on unpleasant matters just for the sake of it.  What I want to do is to build up an archive of badgers in my local patch.  By recording the road casualties here in my diary (and I only include the ones in or immediately around my village), it means that I’m saving the information.  Perhaps it is just the scientist in me, instinctively collecting data, but in years to come it may reveal a pattern.  Nevertheless, if we get many more road deaths I may need to find a less public way to record them.

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My wife came home from a late shift tonight and told me that there was a badger dead on the main road, not more than 100 yards from the end of our road.

I’m not particularly keen on going out at 11.30pm and examining dead badgers, but I couldn’t leave it there.  Plus, now that I’m part of the Bedfordshire Badger Network I have a responsibility to monitor road deaths in the area.  Packing camera, tape measure and disposable gloves, off I went.

The badger was very close to our house, and fairly close to the one that was killed back in October.  I regularly track a badger in the field next to this spot (I followed a lovely long trail here only two weeks ago) so I guess that it was either this badger or one from the same sett.  I suspect that the sett is in a private wood on the other side of the road, hence the badgers seem to cross the road regularly.

I dutifully moved the badger to the verge and examined it, recording length (59cm excluding tail) and sex.  Determining the sex proved more difficult than I imagined, and I resorted to taking pictures and then comparing them to books when I got home.  I’m pretty sure it was a female, and the relatively small size and condition of the teeth suggests an immature one (fully mature sows average 72cm, apparently).

In some ways it was interesting to get a close view of a badger, but I hope I don’t have to do this sort of thing too often.

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