The sun was shining bright this morning at 6:30, streaming onto our garden fence. For a second, I thought about going to get my camera, but then remembered that I was on a mission. Yesterday afternoon and evening we put a seemingly perfectly formed baby rabbit back into what we thought was its nest, the depression at the base of the grapevine, not once, but twice. The little babe wanted to check a third time before bed. I told her to wait; we need to give the Momma rabbit space so that it can come back, put the baby bunny where it belongs, and feed it. We covered up the holes in the fenceline so that hopefully it wouldn't work its way out to the dog side of the yard.
This morning, bathed in sunshine and covered with little sparkles of dew, the cold little rabbit was on the garden path. Gosh darn that dang rabbit that was lying there yesterday, just 12 feet away while this - her? - baby floundered around on the ground. I did not call the wildlife rescue centre yesterday because I read that baby bunnies are extremely hard to care for successfully and because I know that the mother only comes to feed them at night. I had followed protocol, but the mother rabbit did not. So while my own little babe slept in bed, a little round penny tucked under her pillow and the note for the tooth fairy in her 5 1/2 year old handwriting now stowed safely in my memento folder, I grabbed her little blue garden trowel and buried the bunny in the back of the garden, in the second pet cemetery which is quickly growing.
This whole season-of-new-birth, Spring thing, is tough sometimes. On the way to chase the groundhog out of the garden, which I didn't want to trap too early in the season in case it had babies, I had almost stepped on the struggling baby rabbit. Then on my way back to the house to call my husband and figure out what to do with the rabbit, I almost stepped on an already dead baby bird lying on the stones, probably forcibly ejected from its nest by a starling. We found several pale blue eggs smashed open under the large pine last week, giving the little babe a lesson in what a half-formed bird looks like.
I know that life isn't all pretty flowers and sunshine, but finding that cold little bunny on the path this morning, after I had expected the mother to do the right thing, was a bit of a bummer. The irony is that I do not want more rabbits in my garden and I have been cursing them for the past several weeks as they have destroyed my hard work and expensive heirloom seedlings. It is amazing how fast they chew a leaf! However, I am an animal lover at heart. That is why I actually cut a whole in my fence last year so that the rabbits would have an escape route from the dogs. Go ahead, laugh at me.
This morning the little babe ran out to the back garden immediately after waking up. I left her out there for a couple minutes, then went out and asked what she was up to even though I already knew. She said that she couldn't find the baby bunny, but that the mother rabbit was watching her from the other side of the fence. I normally believe that telling children the truth, even if it is gritty or sad, is best. Life is hard, bad things happen, and telling them lies like "your cat went over the rainbow bridge and is dancing with her cat friends right now" is not healthy. However, I had told her to have faith in the mother rabbit, that we have to let Mother Nature run its course, and I just didn't have the heart to tell her that it didn't work. My husband said that maybe something was wrong with the baby and that is why the mother didn't assist it.
So, Monday morning. Life goes on. Put out the trash, go get more compost for the garden, pull some weeds. Sorry for the downer thoughts first thing. Here are some pictures from a misty morning last week.
This is the information about baby rabbits and nests.