/ Tale of the bird and the baby rabbit

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Rog Wilko 21 May 2019

Last evening I was annoyed to see a baby rabbit in our supposedly rabbit-proofed garden. Needless to say attempts to drive it to an open gate failed. Imagine my surprise to find this morning the body of a small rabbit at the edge of the lawn, looking undamaged apart from its lack of breath. Puzzling about what had happened, I left the rabbit where it was. We do get visits from a male sparrow hawk hunting the unwary blackbird, but could he be the killer? Later, as I came out of the house I disturbed one of our local ravens, which had apparently dragged the carcase into the middle of the lawn and was pulling fur off it. Would a raven be able to catch a rabbit? Not equipped as a raptor I’m unsure of its ability to do this. Can anyone offer an explanation? Certainly if the ravens can do this they will be even more welcome in my garden than they were already.

David Riley 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Cat ?

Babika 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Could have been a cat.

Our cat killed two baby rabbits last year in a fit of pique when we had the audacity to go away for a week climbing and leave a neighbour to feed. 

 Fortunately she couldn't fit them through the cat flap so left them on the decking to decay. 

MarkJH 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Without any visable damage to the carcass (and a very rapid death) could it have been RHDV2 ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_haemorrhagic_disease

subtle 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Poor baby rabbit!

WaterMonkey 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

I think either Stoats or Weasels kill and suck the blood out. We had a rabbit killed in the garden and all we found was a lifeless body the next day. There were two tiny pin holes on the back of its neck under the fur.

A cat would eat the rabbit there and then, a bird would have taken it away to eat.

Rog Wilko 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

What a lot of interesting ideas! We don't ever see a cat in the garden, so probably not that. The rabbit looked very fit and healthy the day before so probably not sick. Never seen a stoat or weasel in the garden, but maybe the most likely.

Still wondering about birds, especially the sparrow hawk. Only seen the male, who I suspect is too small to carry away a rabbit.

My neighbour keeps ferrets, but he keeps them secure. Maybe rabbit could smell them and died of fright.

Post edited at 16:24
Rog Wilko 21 May 2019
In reply to subtle:

> Poor baby rabbit!

Aw, you big softie! Nature's red in tooth and claw.

mick taylor 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

A raven could easily catch and kill a baby rabbit.  What many birds of prey (and I reckon corvids and the like) do is:  if they make a kill and get disturbed, the fly off but return to it, often looking for it nearby if they cant immediately find it. Basically, the expend so much energy killing it they need to eat it.

I once saw a magpie catch a kill a young starling.  Shrikes (esp Great Grey Shrike) can take mice and voles etc.

Clarence 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

If it couldn't get out of the garden again it may have died of stress. Lots of small and not so small animals will simply exhaust themselves trying to get out and just drop dead. 

Pefa 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

 Although it happens all the time dying of fear or violence when just a few weeks old is horrific for a sentient being. You did what you did and no problem. I would have attempted to help the young bunny. 

Post edited at 17:41
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Rog Wilko 21 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

I'm not sure what else  I could do. I tried to chase it out of the garden but it hid in the herbaceous border. Next time I saw it, it was dead.

krikoman 21 May 2019
In reply to MarkJH:

> Without any visable damage to the carcass (and a very rapid death) could it have been RHDV2 ?


We've got a lot dying unexpectedly around here, from HS2 C3PO

Pefa 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Right, I got the wrong impression, sorry about that. It's none of my business anyway tbh. 

Tom Last 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

I’ve seen a magpie take a litter of baby weasels, different predator and prey, but still. 

Dax H 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

I like the fact that you think you have a rabbit proof garden. We have had 4 house rabbits for 3 years now and their level of intelligence and escapology is amazing. 

Wilderbeest 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

You get Ravens on your Lawn....

I’m very jealous.

Timmd 21 May 2019
In reply to Dax H:

> I like the fact that you think you have a rabbit proof garden. We have had 4 house rabbits for 3 years now and their level of intelligence and escapology is amazing. 

Our family rabbit for many years 'adopted' us, and then one day it'd gone and jumped over our fence. I think this was before the guidelines were to have more than one for company for them. It lived in a burrow in the garden during the winter, and would sit on people's feet. 

2
birdie num num 21 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

I like eating bunny rabbit for my tea

Rog Wilko 21 May 2019
In reply to Dax H:

It's a constant battle but we were quite successful last year.

Rog Wilko 21 May 2019
In reply to Wilderbeest:

We're very lucky. They've been nesting in a tree in a nearby field for the last 2 or 3 years. They're great fun to watch in the air and on the ground. I can't get over how glossy their plumage is. 

Bojo 22 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

>  I would have attempted to help the young bunny. 

Me too, with a twelve bore and into the pot.

Clarence 22 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> I'm not sure what else  I could do. I tried to chase it out of the garden but it hid in the herbaceous border. Next time I saw it, it was dead.

Sorry, I wasn't criticizing you, it is virtually impossible to catch the little buggers safely and you can leave the gate open, only to find them banging their heads against the fence at the corner. There's no sentiment in nature, even fluffy bunnies are doomed sometimes.

Rog Wilko 22 May 2019
In reply to Clarence:

No need to apologise - you were perfectly polite and no offence taken.

Rigid Raider 23 May 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Is there a river nearby? I've watched a mink kill a small rabbit then saunter away leaving it untouched.

overdrawnboy 23 May 2019
In reply to Babika:

> Could have been a cat.

> Our cat killed two baby rabbits last year in a fit of pique when we had the audacity to go away for a week climbing and leave a neighbour to feed. 

>  Fortunately she couldn't fit them through the cat flap so left them on the decking to decay. 

My late lamented cat managed to drag a steel rat trap complete with rat through the cat flap ( destroying flap in the process) also once turned up proudly dragging a dead sparrowhawk through the flap, he was unmasked when I realised it was frozen solid, having died in the cold.

Rog Wilko 23 May 2019
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> Is there a river nearby? I've watched a mink kill a small rabbit then saunter away leaving it untouched.

No river within half a mile. Interesting suggestion, though.

Rog Wilko 23 May 2019
In reply to overdrawnboy:

Great story!


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