It is time to talk rabbits again.
Every few years, the rabbits (and reports we get of rabbit sightings) are more numerous. And, as if they feel strength in numbers, they grow more brazen. This spring, I am often seeing rabbits in my front and back yards. One day recently, four of them scampered around the back deck. And one night, while I was walking on 30th Street, I saw two of them cavorting on the sidewalk right in front of me.
Some caution might be in order… for the bunnies.
We’re now getting multiple reports of fox sightings. My next door neighbor, Meghan Haight, heard and then saw one late at night. It made a strange sound that she first mistook as an owl.
As I wrote two years ago, there’s a circle-of-life connection between rabbits and foxes. At that time, my neighbor Joy Midman reported that a family of foxes had made themselves at home on her property. The mom is back, and is raising at least two more kits.
“The sounds from my back yard these last few weeks have been haunting and loud,” Midman wrote in an email. “One night last week, coming home to a dark driveway, four bright eyes lit up in front of my garage… baby foxes, clearly old enough to be frolicking. So they are there. Know not how many.”
I feel I should reveal my strong bias… for the foxes. Other rabbit predators, such as owls and hawks, will do as well. Rabbits eat everything; even bark off trees. They are much worse for the local vegetation than deer. So far, though, the rabbit predation in my yard has not been too bad… knock on wood (with the bark still attached).
It’s snowing cotton
On Davenport Street east of Linnean Avenue, the eastern cottonwood tree on the north side of street is throwing out its seeds.
The white fluffs floating around Linnean Avenue at Broad Branch Road are another telltale sign of a nearby cottonwood. The tree is native to North America and can drop 40 million seeds each season.
A check on our neighbors at the Broad Branch and Linnean streams
The cottonwood seeds that settled on one Broad Branch pond create a dappled surface – and a tadpole hangout. The creatures appeared to latch onto the floating seeds.
The dry spring season has dried up a few of the other Broad Branch pools where I’ve spied plenty of tadpoles in the past. I did find larger tadpoles swimming around in a murky pool in the Linnean stream. (See them in the video above at :19.)
Also at Linnean: A papa mallard standing guard on a large fallen tree.
And at Broad Branch: A solitary wild strawberry.
What you might see at the Linnean stream
The new Linnean Park signs welcoming visitors also provide hints about the wildlife you can find there. The first set of photos beneath the informational signs, posted in February, featured woodland birds. Now, it features butterflies that Forest Hills neighbor and photographer David Cohen has seen by the stream.