Sunday, June 19, 2005

Yardblogging: rabbit

Early this morning, I had the telephoto mounted (for some Hooded Oriole pictures), and this little guy showed up about 15 feet away. Seemed like too good an opportunity to miss!

It's very hard to accept just how many rabbits we have here — early in the morning, or in the evening, it's not unusual for us to have more than a dozen in sight (from our windows) at any given moment. My personal record is 27, early on a Saturday morning. They're attracted to us for several reasons: we have reliable water (an automatic waterer out for all the animals to use), we put cracked corn out (mostly for the quail, but it doesn't get any better if you're a bunny), and we've got about 3.5 acres fenced in around the house and largely free of four-footed predators (though we do see the occasional bobcat, and there are our neighbors' housecats out and about). We do have other predators, though: numerous hawks, and (if the rabbit is small enough) gopher snakes. Just once, we've seen a golden eagle sitting on a pole just outside our yard...

By and large these rabbits do us no harm. They keep our citrus trees trimmed to about 14" off the ground (apparently the limit of their reach), and they eat things we'd rather they didn't (this is one reason — along with gophers — why almost all non-native plants in our yard are in pots).

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