February 24, 2013

Dinner Rabbit

We occasionally see a bobcat (Lynx rufus) in the meadow by our house. We have watched it stalk, hunt, and sunbathe in the warm sunshine. This all happens within yards of our house. We live in a densely built suburb, but there are patches of woods around us.

The other day there were two. See Christy's comment on this post -- it may be a mating pair. The male may stay with the female until spring, and then they separate.  We usually see only a single bobcat, or once a mother and kittens.

Jim caught some hunting action as one of the bobcats went after something.

Success. This shot was through the dining room window screen, so it's a little hard to tell what the bobcat got, but it looks like a dinner rabbit.

It was a good catch. The bobcat looks satisfied.

I do wish they would leave my sapling trees alone. The green mesh sleeve protects this little tree against antler rub by the deer, but it doesn't stop the bobcat from marking territory. Perhaps the bobcat predator scent will be a deer deterrent? Larger male bobcats have been known to bring down deer, although their diet is mostly rabbits and mice.

After dinner there was washing up to be done.

And then the two cats piled on top of each other for a rest in the snow.

Then goodbye. Off to do what bobcats do.

It's a good thing Jim's Siamese cats do not go outside, although they are so skinny and bony they'd be unlikely to tempt a bobcat when there is dinner rabbit on the menu.

45 comments:

  1. Oh be still my heart. I would love to see a Bobcat. There are some in our area. They used to be almost extirpated from our state. They are making a come back. It is good to know. They are such beautiful creatures.

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    1. Lisa, Come over here and we will treat you to all the bobcat sightings you would like!

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  2. Great job capturing that all on camera, very impressive. I don't think we have many (or any) bobcats here in Eastern North Dakota, though we certainly have an ample amount of bunnies for them to hunt.

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    1. El Gaucho, thanks, the photo credit goes to my husband. You have mountain lions, if not bobcats in your part of the world. Famously, a mountain lion was tracked a few years ago all the way from the Dakotas to Connecticut and was killed on a highway here. It made a lot of news at the time, no one thought mountain lions would or could migrate so far!

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  3. How exciting to see these Bobcats. The pair you saw are probably a dominant male and a female. The male usually travels with the female from winter to spring and the kittens are born in April or May (sometimes later). I bet if you look at the trees in your woods you might find scratch marks on some trees...another way of marking their territory. I would love to see a Bobcat in the wild......you are so lucky!!

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    1. Christy, that's good to know about the pair being together in winter. The only info I saw said that they part after mating and have solitary territories. I'm okay with them marking my trees as long as they don't damage the little saplings!

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    2. Laurrie.....they actually do part after mating, however they mate together a lot, so that's why they stay together in winter. Guess they want to make sure the female gets pregnant...who knows!

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  4. Wow! I've actually seen fox and once a coyote in the open area next to my house but never a bobcat. My not so stray anymore cat hunts and eats full grown rabbits but I bet he'd make a nice dinner for a bobcat.

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    1. Sue, I bet you have bobcats around, since you have the edge habitat of the cemetery near you. Maybe one will visit when you can see it : )

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  5. Jim made nice catches with the camera, Laurrie. And a smart decision on the indoor-only Siamese cats. Cheers.

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    1. Lee, Jim is my Big Hunter with his camera for a weapon! I just wish the screens had been off the windows for better shots.

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  6. fantastic luck ...great captures!

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    1. Sharon, thanks. Jim was quick with the camera, and got a ton of great photos.

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  7. WOW! Very exciting. Your bobcats are welcome to a few of our rabbits! Maybe then I'll get to enjoy more of my woodland phlox.

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    1. Jason, I do like to see this predator keep the voles and rabbits under control around here. Even with hunting going on in our meadow, we get a lot of damage from rodents and rabbits.

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  8. What a treat to see all that from the comfort of your house. Who needs TV when mother nature provides the best show on earth!

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    1. Rob, this is way better than an afternoon of TV, and all from our windows while we are safe inside!

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  9. Holy crow!!!! That is crazy!!! I know how strong these animals are! Do they ever make you nervous!?!!?

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    1. Nicole, I don't feel threatened by the bobcat and there are no reports of attacks on humans. That said, though, I like to stay inside when he / she is around. I was outside on our deck one time when one sauntered by with fresh kill dangling from her jaws. She completely ignored me, even though I was out there and just 50 feet away.

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  10. They certainly feel safe in your yard. How neat to see them so often. I would think the deer would be nervous with bob cats around but don't know if they're big enough to actually bring one down. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Gardener on Sherlock, the bobcats do seem unworried about being so near humans. I have read that they are shy and that they hunt only at dawn and dusk, but not these -- they are out at midday and don't seem bothered by the houses and people.

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  11. Obviously those bobcats have become accustomed to people! I've only seen a bobcat once here during the day, and it started running like hell once it saw me.

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    1. Sweetbay, as I commented to someone else above, I have been sitting on my deck outside when one of the bobcats wandered by just 50 feet away, so they aren't nervous around humans at all. I hope that doesn't put them in danger.

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  12. Very cool! No bobcats in my neighborhood although I might not mind a chance sighting now and again from the comfort of my home:) Great shots too.

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    1. Patty, that's the key -- the comfort of one's home while watching wild animals! These cats are not big, and they do not attack humans, but boy do they look powerful and muscular and wild.

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  13. What an enormous compliment that the bobcats feel so secure in your yard. The wildest creature in my backyard is a squirrel. However, my neighbor whose house backs up into woods has seen many deer on her patio. I prefer the squirrels. They do less damage. :o)

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    1. Tammy, I think the compliment should go to the rabbits and the voles! They are what attracts these wild hunters. I could deal with squirrels -- at least they're not so destructive to plants.

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  14. I'm amazed they'd be in an area with densely developed area. I've had a black bear at the front door, but never have I seen a bobcat. Good you got all the pictures. I think it's a compliment to how well you've developed your garden, integrating it into the surrounding land and woods.

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    1. James, my garden certainly attracts the prey critters that the bobcat hunts for. The pickings are so good here that the bobcat overcomes any reluctance to prowl where humans live. Did your black bear ring the doorbell? What a visitor!

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  15. Talk about shock and awe! Time to lock up the animals (or at least the ones you like)! What a treat it must be to look out the window and see that. Like James Golden,I had a very lost black bear wandering around my neighborhood once a few summers ago. No bobcats, though.

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    1. Sarah, those wandering black bears who wind up in people's yards are the adolescent males who have not yet figured out how to behave! A lot like humans. We've had them here too, but not recently. The most reliable visitor recently is the bobcat.

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  16. What a fantastic series of pictures! Must be awesome to see out your window.

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    1. Rosemary, thanks. It really is incredible to see all this from the windows of the house.

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  17. Wow, great pics. I know we have them around our cabin in western NC, but I've never seen one. I'll just have to keep looking. Thanks.

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    1. Bill, thanks. If you have rabbits and mice around your cabin, you will sooner or later see a bobcat. I hope!

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  18. Oh, Laurrie, it's success to catch such interesting pictures! Awesome views, I would like to see a bobcat through my window one day.
    I hope there are a lot of rabbits in the nearest wood.
    Have a nice week!

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    1. Nadezda, We have so many rabbits (and mice) here, that the bobcats are always around us, hunting and filling their stomachs!

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  19. Great shots of a beautiful animal. I have vast stretches of woods here and have yet to see tracks or evidence of a bobcat. I have seen a fischer though. They are tough looking.

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    1. Layanee, Maybe because you have more woods around you, they can go about their business deep in the forest where they are unseen. Here, we have built up around their territory and eliminated so much of their cover that they have to hunt in suburban yards now.

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  20. Great photos Laurrie. Jim got wonderful shots. One less rabbit is a good thing too.

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    1. Donna, I agree-- a few less rabbits is good for the garden!

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  21. Laurrie, I have not seen bobcat in my area but others have. I'd love to be able to observe what you have shown here - kudos to Jim. Perhaps you can send some mental message to your bobcat to tell thier friends to head my way. There's lots of rodents for them to feast upon and we will welcome them with glee!

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    1. Joene, I think you are in a more densely wooded area than we are, so your bobcats probably hide better, and don't hunt out in the open like ours does. But I bet they are nearby all the time.

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  22. Laurrie, you are so so lucky to have these animals around you. How exciting to be able to watch them go about their business. Can't even imagine how darn cute bobcat kittens would be. I don't think the spraying will do any damage and you're right, it may actually deter the deer which is a good thing.

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    1. Marguerite, I only saw the kittens briefly a couple years ago, as the mother and babies crossed the road when I was driving. So it was just a glance, but they were close behind her, not straying far at all. Amazing sight. If the two in our yard this time are a mating pair, there should be more kittens in summer.

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