|from Nat Geo (photo: Norbert Rosing)|
Our bobcat is back.
I wrote about her in one of my first blog posts in winter 2010.
Although the wildlife sites tell us bobcats are elusive and nocturnal, ours is not. She hunts in the middle of a sunny day, and ambles around our garden in broad daylight.
We watched in fascination last winter as she made her pounces capturing mice in the snowy meadow. It's a spectacle: creep, creep, creep .... stalk, wait with hunched shoulders and laser focused eyes, and then a swift arching leap three feet in the air to deliver the deathblow. It looks like an acrobatic stunt.
We watched her do this four times, and she was successful twice. After a successful kill, she simply crouched where she had landed and ate her lunch.
|last winter from my dining room window|
The first time I saw the bobcat in our yard it was 6 p.m. on a summer evening several years ago, and she sauntered (yes, that's the only word I can use; it's a hip swaying slow liquid stroll) through the garden with a giant rabbit dangling from her mouth. I was on the deck, about 30 feet away. She took no notice of me. Or she noticed, but was too self satisfied to acknowledge me.... as if to say "I have dinner plans tonight and you don't."
I have seen her several times since. We don't know if it's a female, and haven't seen it with cubs. Females are a little smaller than males. The National Geographic site shows an illustration of a bobcat's relative size to a human. Our bobcat looks smallish, so we decided it's a female.
Lynx rufus (or Felis rufus) is smaller than the Canada lynx, but twice as big as a house cat, and three times as big as the skinny Siamese felines who prowl around inside our house pouncing on their food dishes. The bobcat is solitary, and we have only ever seen ours alone, patrolling by herself.
She owns a territory of about 5 square miles, so we don't see her often, as she covers other parts of her range. Bobcats actually do well in urban edge environments, as long as there is prey, and we have a rich menu of voles and mice and rabbits in our gardens. They will hunt fawns too, and can bring down an adult deer, but I suspect that is rare, although deer are certainly on offer here too, and I'd appreciate any efforts by the bobcat to keep them in check. Bobcats have no natural predators.
|note the bobbed tail, practically nonexistent|
I didn't get a picture this morning of our Lynx rufus, so I'm posting the photos from January of 2010.
This morning, when I raised the shades and saw her, I just watched rather than rush to find the camera. There is something arresting about seeing a predator so close. She's no threat to me or our indoor housecats, but her wildness, her stealth, the way she absolutely owns my garden, is heart stopping.