Baby bunny bookends

We’ve had a population explosion of backyard cottontails this year, with there almost always being one or two adult rabbits and at least one medium-sized baby bunny in our yard at any given moment.

Baby bunny

Initially, we thought we were seeing the same baby bunny over and over until we saw four equally-sized young rabbits quietly eating grass in separate spots at the same time: cottontails multiplied. Now that those baby cottontails have grown into medium-sized adolescents, yesterday I saw a slightly smaller rabbit hopping in and out of our backyard irises: a member of the next batch of baby bunnies.

To prove how hungry a baby boom of cottontail rabbits can be, compare how lush and green the hostas in our relatively rabbit-free front yard are…

Hosta leaves and bud

…with how stubby and rabbit-nibbled the hostas are in our backyard, with its bounty of hungry bunnies.

Rabbits like hosta

Last week, our backyard played host to another sort of baby, with two wild turkey hens ushering their broods of turkey chicks, or “poults,” across our yard, down our driveway, and across the street into the woods behind our neighbor’s house.

Looking to play some basketball?

Between the two hens with their combined broods, there were at least seven poults poking around our yard. Luckily, our backyard bunnies left enough ground cover in our front yard to provide handy hiding places for camera-shy turkey chicks.

Turkey poult

Click here for more (blurry) photos from last week’s wild turkey trot. Enjoy!

Bunny bookends

When I was a kid, I’d sometimes lie awake during overnight thunderstorms, wondering how the birds and wild animals weathered the wind and rain. As much as it was comforting to be safely tucked into a warm, dry bed, I’d worry a bit about the wild things outside before finally giving way to sleep.

St John's wort

With Hurricane Irene on the way, J and I have done everything we can to tuck ourselves in for the next 24 hours. We have food and bottled water, and we’ve located our flashlights, batteries, and several radios. J moved the patio furniture into the garage, where it will be safe from wind, and I moved anything valuable off the basement floor, in case of flooding. We’ve charged our laptops and cell phones (and I’ve charged my Kindle) in case we lose power, which is likely, so now all that’s left is to hunker down for the night while the rain falls and the winds intensify.

We frequently see at least one cottontail rabbit in our yard, and all this week, we’ve seen a pair of cottontails nibbling grass like a pair of bunny bookends. Today while J and I were hustling around with our last bit of hurricane prep, we didn’t see anything of our usual backyard rabbits. I hope they too have found a safe, sheltered spot where they can hunker down until Irene blows out of town.

Periscope

Our backyard cottontail has discovered that if you sit absolutely still, neck-deep in greenery, the resident old dog will walk right past without even noticing you’re there.