Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rabbit Tracks in the Snow:Hopping Down the Bunny Trail

While attempting to find a way around the house without having to struggle through deep drifts, I saw that the rabbits had been doing the same thing.

The far left trail is in a trough between two small drifts and is nearer the house, making it darker and more sheltered at night. It looks like a definite going-back-and-forth-to-somewhere-specific trail. But what is happening on the right? There seems to be tracks for at least two bunnies. There doesn't look to be any forage there. What were the bunnies doing?

Which brings to mind the question--Just where are their rabbit holes?

Ah, what's this? A trail, very deep and so well trod the tracks aren't clear disappears underneath the neighbor's garden shed.
That's a big hole. If that's a rabbit hole, there's a bunny in there I haven't seen before. It must be huge. Is this the home of Godzilla Bunny? Or maybe Fluffy?
Going round the back the drifts allow three places to get under the shed, though only two spots look like they've been used by the tracks.

The far right set of prints might be Fluffy's but they don't go all the way to the closest hole and it's too small for Fluffy anyway.

The next neighbor down also has a garden shed and the prints clostest to the hole are bunny tracks. The hole is smaller than the first found entrance under the other shed. The rabbit hasn't gone to the park side for some time. But rather goes off to the sides in both directions toward feeders.

3:51PM and the moon is up, floating in a beautiful blue sky.
Though here on earth, the enviroment has taken on a rather crater scarred look. And this evening the weather report predicts 10-15 inches more snow.
The snow is getting very deep and no one has any idea where another foot or so of snow will go. Already when shoveling the end of the driveway, I have to lift the shovel head high to get to the top of the snow pile. Note there are no tracks going towards the park where I am standing. There is no food here. The grass is under several feet of snow, as are the rodents.
It was old home week at the grocery store with everyone stocking up on food before yet another storm. I saw the local raptor rehabilitator standing looking at the yogurt. She asked if I'd noticed there wasn't any road kill in sight lately and suddenly Red-tails, for which there had been a bumper crop, are scarce. I agreed. In the last few weeks I've only seen one Red-tail, though I have seen Rough-legged Hawks and the immature Golden Eagle.
It seems all the road kill is being consumed the minute it is created and that done at least some of the Red-tails have dispersed in search of better hunting grounds.
February and March are the hardest months for young hawks to survive. Wisely many seem to have left town.
Doorstep Dove and Friend sit in the sun and watch the back yards. No doubt hoping that the Cooper's Hawk which I just saw change evergreens several yards down, will go home so they can go to the feeders.
Ah, here is another set of rabbit tracks. There is a harder snow crust under several inches of powder snow. So the rabbits can still hop through without disappearing into the drifts but their back feet drag on the hop, making long tracks

Interesting, several bunny trails meet here--and then a circle. Very nice.
Donegal Browne

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