Monday, July 13, 2009

From Bunny to Bobcat

For quite a few mornings now I have watched a tiny Brush Rabbit gingerly hop beyond its dense brush pile to feed on the path leading into my garden. I have wondered how such a tiny critter survives this exposure, surrounded by a newly fledged family of Red-shouldered Hawks and who knows what else. In fact, I first saw the little rabbit weeks ago while the foxes still lived beneath my cabin. When the foxes were out of sight, the rabbit came out to feed. When the foxes roamed around…no sight of the rabbit. Another tasty creature, the Dusky-footed Woodrat, who lives in the back wall of my cabin, even used a foxhole, still used by foxes, to access its home, and timed its entrance and exit with precision. This is a glimpse into the precisely choreographed dance that allows all to eat and be eaten at exactly the right time.

This morning I saw the bunny skip into the garden and nibble just below by kitchen window. Then, another joined it. These animals are so small and young looking. Is this second rabbit a sibling, or a mate? Female brush rabbits produce 3 to 4 litters each year between January and May. Gestation takes only 27 days. What a great strategy for making lots of rabbits and the survival of the species. Actually, due to habitat loss, I bet this species is not doing as well as I would wish. I took a few photos and continued preparing my breakfast.

Soon, another glance out the window. The bunnies were gone and, instead, a large tabby cat? I only saw the head beyond the marjoram. Then the head turned. No, a bobcat! Look at those telltale white spots! It seemed quite comfortable in the garden and began sniffing where the rabbits had just been. Then it spotted one and tore after it. No luck catching it, though. That brush pile is thick and protective. Grab the camera. Shoot more pictures.


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