After early spring days that seemed like they were never going to bring sunshine, things have finally warmed up here in Vermont. We have been taking advantage of this fact as much as we possibly can, and are spending hours outside each day. Yard to park, park to yard. Repeat. It seems that the rest of the world is doing much of the same, and we have been seeing plenty of signs that our animal neighbors are getting out and about as well. We've been finding feathers and footprints, and then, this last weekend, we found a very different and very special kind of something.
A nest of baby bunnies. The dog was the first to find it actually, and because of this fact, we have had to keep a very close eye on the nest. The dog is now getting his first lessons in what life as an urban animal will be like; he is no longer allowed out in the yard without out human supervision. And, because we don't know if he might have scent marked the area around the nest, the Interwebs advise that we gently check the bunnies each day to make sure that their mother is visiting, and that they are staying warm and "plump."
Mariam is, of course, happy to do a daily bunny check. We have also been marking the nest with an "x" made of twigs, hoping that their movement will make for an obvious sign that mother bunny has been visiting on schedule.
Unfortunately, the wind and other animals around the area (near our bird feeder) have made the marking system an inexact science at best. So, we continue to do a bit of bunny reconnassiance each morning, to ensure that all seems well and that they are continuing to grow and stay warm enough. So far, it does seem that mama must be sneaking in for visits under the cover of semi-darkness, and as long as this is the case, we can leave the bunnies in the nest.
This sort of backyard wildlife experience is exactly what I thought that we would be sadly leaving behind in heading for more urban pastures. And, I was trying my best to be okay with this. But when we were standing in the shady little backyard of the new house last weekend, do you know what I saw out of the corner of my eye? A tiny little cottontail rabbit, hopping along the fence line and out of sight.
And I would call that a happy coincidence if ever there was one.