Furry Friday: Nocturnal Visitor

Posted by Pat Bumstead

Do you ever wonder about the night time activity in your yard?

For the past several years, we have been host to a few over-wintering mourning doves. As these beautiful birds are ground feeders, they have a special feeding area under a large poplar in our yard. We keep this area cleared of snow, and make sure there is always food available.

Doves aren’t the only ones who like sunflower chips however, and a few nights ago we were lucky to catch site of our nocturnal visitor – a white-tailed jack rabbit.

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Early European settlers on the prairies encountered this large, long-legged, big-eared prairie hare which they promptly dubbed the ‘jackass rabbit.’  This name has mellowed over the years to the more familiar term jack rabbit.

Creatures of the prairie grasslands, white-tailed jack rabbits are common within the city limits. Predominantly a nocturnal species, city rabbits can also be seen during daylight hours, taking advantage of the lack of predator activity. A favourite prey species of coyotes, foxes and bobcats, their powerful hind legs allow them to sprint at speeds up to 64 km an hour, and make huge 5 meter long leaps. During the winter months they live on twigs, buds and bark so a free dinner of sunflower chips makes a nice change!

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