My Weekly Dose of Wild (2015): long eared and bushy tailed


15.07.08 

One of my favorite mammals are rabbits.  I think I like them so much because they are rare for me in my urban setting.  I always hear about these munching, puff-ball tailed hoppers visiting suburban yards.  They are even the bane of some people, as flowers and veggie gardens are tasty meals for these cute critters.  But for some reason they do not find my neighborhood appealing and I never get to enjoy a sighting in my own backyard.  Maybe I should plant some carrots behind my house?

We have weekly nocturnal visits from raccoons (and even a few day sightings on special occasions).  Red and grey squirrels entertain us through our back windows with their lively lives scurrying from tree to tree.  I even see the occasional skunk.  Our neighborhood attracts a great variety of birds with all its green space and water features.  And while I love sightings of all of these creatures, the rabbit has become the elusive holy grail for me.  Even chipmunks, while not a neighbourhood resident, are  not as big of a thrill to spot, as they are cousins to the squirrels.  It's that long-eared wild bunny that has become a special treat.  (And don't even get me started on the elusive owl!)

I know of a couple of spaces downtown where rabbits DO make their homes.  It's amazing to see them tentatively explore a couple of urban parks where large arrangements of dense shrubs offer them cover when they feel threatened.  But they seem to be used to munching alongside urban picnic-ers and strolling families.  I've even heard of them spotted on a couple of public rooftop decks.  How they found the staircase access and got up the courage to explore those concrete areas is beyond me.  And how they survive our deep-freeze winters is a big question as North American Leporidae (Rabbit family) do not dig holes to live in.  (Unlike their European cousins.)

This summer I've been fortunate to have spotted rabbits (and even young) while working landscaping in the western end of the city.  I've even seen a large rabbit nibbling at fallen service berries (that the squirrels, chipmunks, waxwings and other birds have missed).  Spotting three small bunnies was the highlight of my summer so far!

It's great because the more I get out - the more I see!

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