Sunday, August 18, 2013

Baby bunnies!

A mug of early morning coffee at the ready, I am about to open my laptop when a miniature storm hits the garden.. Dry earth the color of a brown paper bag flies through the air as the largest of three resident rabbits digs a third tunnel right through the daffodil bulbs. Another rabbit hops in to graze under the bird feeder about 7 feet away. Digger Rabbit, who appears to be chewing a daffodil bulb, gives chase. They race across open space so dry the weeds crackle under their feet, and out of my sight. Digger soon returns to resume excavating as does the intruder rabbit, who hides in the shadows of a low spreading juniper. In just those few minutes that I turned my eyes away, Digger completely covered and camouflaged the new entrance and is aggressively chasing a very large ground squirrel. Ka-whap! With a body blow and a ninja rabbit kick, the squirrel is momentarily airborne and as soon as it lands, Digger chases it. Turns out Digger is protecting her subterranean babies who emerge right by my feet as I sit outside soon after sunset.
Four inch desert cottontail                       photo by Beth Surdut

            Had I leafed through the newspaper or tunneled my way through a book about animal behavior, or checked my messages, I would have missed seeing 3 adult rabbits of varying sizes, 2  baby bunnies about the size of the palm of my hand, 2  pairs of plump scaled quail, 1 pair of grey and white doves, many red-breasted house finches and their dun-colored mates, 2  robins,  a curved-bill thrasher couple , 2 broad-tailed hummingbirds, 2 chickadees, 1 goldfinch, 1 piƱon jay, 1 small woodpecker, 1 raven, 1 juniper titmouse, 2  whiptail lizards,  2 fence lizards, 1 stinkbug, and a canyon towhee.
           All I had to do was pay attention.

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