Our local wildlife is constantly coming into close contact with human settlements and at the hide we benefit from this close relationship. However, living alongside wildlife in a productive way can be an ongoing effort to ensure that we don’t just prioritise our own needs, but also those of the other species that we share our home with.
Our Evening Mammal Hide is located near to local farmlands which can usually be a very good place to encounter Badgers. Rolling grazing fields provide an excellent foraging place to look for worms! Furthermore, historically farmers would often dig chalk and sand pits on the edges of their land to obtain building materials or to lime the fields. Over time and left alone, these areas became colonised by trees, and this had the effect of creating ideal sites for the Badgers to move in. The steep banks provide an ideal location for the animals to dig their underground chambers into and the trees provide important cover to protect the sett from high winds and heavy rainfall. The surrounding fields are often ideal for use as foraging space and having small wilderness spots throughout the farm scape helps wildlife to co-exist within the human landscape.
Sometimes, when a Badger decides to visit your garden in the night, certain problems can occur. As we watch our local Badgers move past the hide, there is a noticeable disturbance to the forest floor. As they forage, they like to dig and snuffle, which disturbs the soil and turns it over. If they encounter any lovingly planted bulb flowers in your garden, they might be tempted to dig them up for a snack! However, this disturbance is necessary for a thriving ecosystem. By turning the soil over and loosening the earth they allow new plants to colonise the spot and seed themselves in the soft soil (see images below).
On the whole it is an ongoing relationship we must maintain with our wildlife. Co-existence is not always easy, but by coming to our hide, you can get a chance to meet our own nocturnal neighbours of Badgers and Pine Marten and gain a respect for how wonderful they truly are!