An American Badger – Paying Attention Pays Off

A few days ago while photographing Swainson’s Hawks during the evening in the Centennial Valley of southwestern Montana I felt like I was being watched and as anyone who goes into the backcountry knows that when you get that feeling it should be paid attention to so I took my eyes away from my viewfinder and looked around.

Hidden American BadgerHidden American Badger – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Wow! There were two ebony eyes peeking at me through the light golden grasses along with the strikingly marked face of an American Badger (Taxidea taxus)!

I was nearly at eye level with the Badger because the dirt road was lower than the sandy ridge that was cut away when the road was created and there was plenty of vegetation in the way. I excitedly told Ron “Badger! Back up, back up!”, he couldn’t see it right then because of the vegetation.

American Badger profileAmerican Badger profile – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

When we did back up to try to get a better view of the Badger we realized there was no way to avoid having some of the grass in front of the Badger. I really wish the one slender grass stalk didn’t go across the corner of the Badger’s face, nose and eye in this frame.

The Badger did stand up a little higher plus I raised the window up so I got a slightly better angle when I took this frame but there were still some grass stems in the way. Hopefully I will have many more opportunities with these handsome mammals where I won’t have obstructions in the way.

Curious American BadgerCurious American Badger – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

 Still; I was tickled to have this Badger within close range for a few moments before it went back down into its burrow.

I have learned that even when I have a great subject in front of me to always try to pay attention to what is outside my viewfinder and because I do I have seen and photographed some gems I might have missed if I only looked through my cameras viewfinder.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


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  3. Looks like a nice healthy plump Badger. What a wonderful find and opportunity, I have never seen a Badger, way to go.

  4. I love badgers, and these are wonderful photos of this handsome animal!

  5. You got nice eye contact and I really like the color wash. The markings on this animal are really striking.

  6. Awesome catch, Mia!

  7. Fantastic, Mia! Beautiful shots.

  8. Wonderful Mia, very stunning looking fellow (/gal?) You obviously blend well with your surrondings to get so close to so many creatures.

    • Dan, I’m not sure if the Badger was male or female. I was in a vehicle and I suspect the badger would have been more anxious about my presence if I had been on foot, people shoot Badgers out here. Thanks so much for commenting on these images.

  9. Lovely pictures. Recently I was on a back country road in Capitol Reef national park when something large ran across in front of us. It popped up to take a look at us and turned out to be an American Badger, first one I have ever seen

    Bob Palin
    Wayne County, Utah

    • Bob, I love that your image shows the den of the Badger. They are such neat looking mammals, I’m surprised I don’t see them more often because I see badger holes a lot. Thanks for visting my blog and commenting!

  10. Wonderful photos, Mia, the colors and lighting are beautiful together! I haven’t seen a badger yet this year, so I better hurry up and spend a night in our pasture with a flashlight, because it won’t be long before hibernation.

  11. What a great catch Mia! The Badger is gorgeous with its striking black facial markings!

  12. What a beautiful animal. You captured him/her is a gift, thanks.

  13. Awesome Mia! I don’t know that I’ve seen badger photos before. He’s a handsome fellow. Nice work picking him out of the grass!

  14. He’s truly an excellent looking specimen of a Badger Mia. I’d not seen them this close and the face and body markings are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing, and looking around. Carol

  15. I like the ground level and head-on shot of frame #1 and all three shots with a lovely foreground bokeh depicting this little mammal in its environment.

  16. Excellent storyline to go with the images Mia.. I think it is what makes your blog all the more interesting, in that not only do we see wonderful photography but you tell the story of the image(s) also. I dont see the stems on my version ;)

    • Thank you Stu, I always hope that the stories behind the images are interesting to other people so I very much appreciate you telling me that you enjoy them.

  17. What a wonderful experience! so glad you “caught” these so we can see, too.

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