Saturday, May 21, 2011

Of bunnies and cats

Three days ago I stepped outside to see Bear hovering over something. Usually it's a meadow mouse. This time it was a neonate bunny, already deceased. I took the bunny away and lamented the fact that it was so small. Bear obviously would know where the nest was, and he would sacrifice those bunnies one by one. Sure enough, later that day I heard a bunny squeaking, and I found Bear behind the woodpile, right next to my front door where the dog spends her day, standing over a bunny nest.

I expect mother rabbit built her nest while I was traveling, Molly was at the kennel, and Bear was safely inside. I put Bear in the house, tucked the bunny back in the nest with two others, covered the nest, and laid some sticks across it so I could see if mother rabbit returned to feed them. The next day the sticks were moved, and Bear was growing restless inside. The following day the sticks were moved again, but one of the bunnies was DOA next to the nest--probably the bunny that Bear had gotten a hold of. I removed the DOA bunny. By now, Bear was picking fights with cats in the house, so I took a trip to the Dollar General.

Mother rabbits only visit their nest around twice a day to feed the babes. So while Bear is outside for an hour or two, I've covered the nest. I'll take the basket off in late afternoon and keep Bear inside. Once the bunnies are hopping around, Bear will just have to deal with remaining in the house. If he gets pissy I'll just have to shut him in a boarding room. He immediately checked out the nest, but when he realized he couldn't get at it, he lost interest.

The later this morning I heard a loud THWACK and realized a bird had flown into one of my great room windows. I went outside and Tyler was chattering from the cat enclosure at something lying in the grass. I picked up the thrush and gently carried him over to the woodpile and set him there to recover, if recovering was in the stars for him. When the weather is cold, I put them in a paper bag some place warm and dark, but I figured it would be less stressful for this bird to remain outside. I was worrying about him when after an hour he had not moved and was quite fluffed up, but when I came out a little while later, he gave me a look and flitted away. Relief!

It amazes me that a breakable bird can fly head on full speed into a window and survive. I guess because they hit skull-first, and the skull is the strongest part of a bird, they manage not to break.

Hopefully that is enough wildlife adventure for the week! Now I need to relocate Ivan from my lap so I can get the bird book and see what bird this was. I thought he was a wood thrush, but I think they have more white.


A few Good Cats said...

Some cats are just born to hunt. Caitie has been almost exclusively indoors since we adopted her in 1997, and yesterday she went after a baby bird and would have had it if we hadn't pulled her away. On the other hand, Nicky once watched a mouse stroll by him and didn't move a muscle.

Gretchen Branco said...

That was so good to hear that you went to such measures to protect the baby bunnies. You're such a good person. Made me smile that you came up with a way to do it. I have a thing for baby bunnies.....and cats. I know a thing or two about birds hitting glass. Every time I'm visiting my dad it seems to happen. Most times they make it, but sometimes they don't.

2Vamp said...

Aw... I'm sorry to hear about the bunnies; I'm hoping the last one will get to grow up.

You're in an awesome part of the world, truly. I live in a concrete jungle!