My wife saw an eastern cottontail in our back yard about the first of June. It appeared to be digging a nest.
I put a camera in the yard and captured several photographs of the rabbit.
As you can see, the rabbit is over the nest at various times through the day and night. Petty cool. The nest is about 4 inches deep, with an entrance hole perhaps two inches in diameter. It's lined with fur that the mother takes from her belly. To tell you the truth, it looks to me an awful lot like dryer lint.
And then I captured something that seemed scary at the time. Several birds raided the nest and took fur, presumably to use in their own nests.
I thought this might mean that the rabbits were dead for some reason. But I was wrong. The mother continued to nurse her young for several days. They nurse only once a day, and at various times. I presume this is to make it harder for predators to track and find the nest; what humans call operational security.
Nursing takes several minutes, and looks like this....
And now for the disappointing part. Sorry.
That is the last event I captured of the mother feeding. I never did capture the babies; I think because the camera batteries were getting to weak to operate the camera. Oops. Sorry.
Anyway, there is no evidence that the babies were predated, so I assume they successfully fledged, and are out being rabbits somewhere in Rodgers Forge.
This is what the nest looks like after being abandoned. Please note that I pulled the grass back from the hole so you can see it better. When it was in use, the mother kept the grass pulled together tightly over the nest, making it harder to see.
And I have noticed more rabbits out and about in the neighborhood this year than usual. I assume the hawks will soon make the same observation. Could be a decent fall for hawks in the area. More later.
Don't forget to go outside and play.