Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rabbits in the Garden: Life As We Know It



They are sort of fun to watch, but as a gardener I know they spell trouble.  So it was not without some trepidation that I watched a rabbit burrow itself out of the snow from under a spiral pruned Alberta spruce in the parterre garden I can see out one of my two erstwhile bedroom windows.

I watched it for a while.  It scampered happily about as if to be saying, "Oh what to choose!"  It finally hopped over to some long caned heirloom roses and settled in for a snack.  I have seen many a shrub rose girdled and pruned back in just this fashion.  Of all the possible feasts laid out for Rabbit, my odds were on the roses from the start.

So yesterday, being a gardener, I had a lot of angst when, sensing movement in the garden, I looked up from my studying and saw Rabbit yet again.  Rabbit,  with all our winter has hit the outdoor creatures, looked good, healthy; and as temperatures soared to freezing (first time since January 13 for us here) Rabbit looked happy and joyful.  The day was warm.  The garden full of gnawable snacks.  The garden would provide.

And where there is one rabbit, you will certainly have more rabbits.  Or maybe not...

It was not more than a few seconds before I saw a second rabbit had joined Rabbit.  Both rabbits were scampering to and fro, enjoying the warm day, and playing tag of a sort, and I thought to myself they are going to do something for which rabbits are famous, multiply like, well, rabbits.

Being well-versed on the reproductive abilities of rabbits, I know rabbits multiply like rabbits because just being with a male rabbit or buck will bring the female into estrus.  About 30-31 days later, baby rabbits!

So, baby rabbits.  With such a short turnaround and so much snow to melt before I can hope to get to my car unless I hire a plow, in 30 days I will still be here and see yet more rabbits.

So Rabbit and Buck are doing their happy hopping and thinking about doing the nasty rabbit.  I'm watching thinking I should get my camera.

And suddenly...

He was so impressive.  I saw him swoop in at an anterior angle, talons out, with his full, nearly five foot wingspan extended.  The snowy white, speckled with rust, downy under belly plumage and bright rust tail feathers, and his size, again I was taken by his size; left no doubt as to the identity of my latest visitor to the parterre.

I craned my head to see if I could capture a better angle of this bird...of prey.  I could not.  He was quick.

Hawk was gone.

My focus returned to Rabbit and Buck.

But... Buck...Buck was no more.  Hawk had been quick.  And life had changed for Rabbit and Buck and the heirloom shrub roses.  And Hawk, who was obviously at the top of his game and feeling the clear blue skies and warming temperatures, too.

And I was struck by how quickly life can change, yet again.


  1. OH wow!! I love that story- and as unfortunate as your predicament is do I dare say you never would have seen such a thing otherwise? Maybe so. Well told! I wish you would have had your camera, but such things happen, as you said, so fast, you would hardly have been able to take the shot. Such a surprise ending! Heal on!!

  2. No, I doubt I would have been sitting at the window, just sort of lost. The hawk was incredible to see so close. You don't realize how large there are when you see them sitting in a dead tree or on a pole driving down the highway. I didn't realize what was happening, it happened so fast. I was sort of calculating time to bunny birth, and days before they would leave any sort of nest. No bunnies now, most likely. I haven't seen Rabbit for the last two days either.

  3. I sort of feel sorry for Buck ... and yet ... the Black Rabbit of Inlé comes for all rabbits eventually, and then of course there are the roses which now have a greater chance of surviving.

    1. Sorrow for Buck and for Rabbit, and yet you are right, there will be the roses! It was all so quick, a tiny piece of time. For me, and most likely Buck, he was there...and then, he wasn't. And life, I have found is like that sometimes.