An American Badger – Paying Attention Pays Off

/, Beaverhead County, Centennial Valley, Montana/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!

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.

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 I get a better view of the Badger I 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.

Paying attention pays off big when curious American Badger shows up and hangs around for a little while in southwestern Montana.



  1. Jim August 29, 2012 at 10:32 am

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

    • Mia McPherson August 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      Jim, I hope you get to see a Badger soon, they are fascinating animals and quite handsome too.

  2. Linda Rockwell August 28, 2012 at 8:04 am

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

    • Mia McPherson August 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you Linda, your comment is much appreciated.

  3. Julie Brown August 28, 2012 at 4:14 am

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

    • Mia McPherson August 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you Julie. I agree, their facial markings are striking.

  4. Jim Braswell August 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Awesome catch, Mia!

  5. Scott (@NESASK) August 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Fantastic, Mia! Beautiful shots.

  6. Dan Huber August 27, 2012 at 6:57 am

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

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      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.

  7. Bob Palin August 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    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

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      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!

  8. Prairie Birder August 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    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.

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks PrairieBirder, I hope you get to see a Badger soon!

  9. Tammy Karr August 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm

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

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      Thanks for commenting Tammy, I agree, the Badger is gorgeous!

  10. Bob Bushell August 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

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

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Thank you Bob, I felt priviledged to photograph the Badger.

  11. Laurence Butler August 26, 2012 at 10:28 am

    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!

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks Laurence, handsome they are!

  12. Carol Mattingly August 26, 2012 at 10:27 am

    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

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Carol, I find the facial pattern on badgers almost mesmerizing. Thanks for commenting.

  13. M. Firpi August 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

    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.

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Thank you Maria, it was a great experience to see and photograph this Badger.

  14. Stu August 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

    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 😉

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      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.

  15. zephyr August 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

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

    • Mia McPherson August 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      Thank you Zephyr, I am very glad I spotted this Badger too.

Comments are closed.