We are over-run with bunnies! For the last few years, we have had a rabbit living in our backyard. This is not unusual in our neighbourhood. We live on the edge of a big city. We have only one street between our home and a conservation area and live only a kilometre away for the edge of the urban area which is defined by a Greenbelt. Our location is both a blessing and a curse. Being on the edge of the Greater Toronto Area has made it really difficult for me to find a permanent job in my field, but it has also meant that we experience little treats from nature on a fairly frequent basis.
This Spring, the big treat has been the bunnies in our backyard. Our backyard rabbit has given birth to babies who are tucked away in a burrow in our garden right outside our living room window. We have been treated to many sitings every day since discovering them. Last weekend, we saw the mother rabbit standing over the burrow while the babies fed, and then watched in excited awe as she stood up to clean herself, exposing the babies to full view. We watched them wiggle back down into the hole and disappear from sight. And then we watched the mother cover the hole with leaves and needles. It was like watching a National Geographic special through our living room window.
Since then, we have all been peering out of the window every time we enter the room to see where the mother is and what is happening with the babies. We have caught her feeding them a few more times since last weekend. And then, yesterday, we got to see the babies outside of the nest; four of them fully exposed just a foot away from their burrow. That is when we realized that there were four or five more babies still inside the burrow!!
The babies outside of the burrow look quite big; about 1/4 of the size of the mother, while the ones inside the burrow look half the size of their siblings. This has given rise to speculation in our household; are the larger ones older ones from an earlier clutch or are they bigger because they are on the top side of the burrow with more access to mom?
When it got dark last night, there were at least four babies out of the nest, hiding in the Iris leaves a few feet from the nest, while another four or five were cuddling in the burrow. This morning, it looks like they are all back in the burrow, looking crowded and warm; inviting questions about the ability of the ones deeper in the burrow to breath; and evoking wonder and awe.