Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Many Rabbit Sightings In Neighborhood And Why So Many?

Photo from Union Bay Blog post "Pescatarians,"
by Larry Hubbell captioned: "The new plantings,
along with this undisturbed grass near the
Center for Urban Horticulture, have helped to
provide fuel for a population explosion

among the local rabbits."

The Laurelhurst Blog has received several emails about rabbit sightings in various areas of the neighborhood.

Neighbors have commented:

What is with the bunnies?  They are everywhere. I've lived here 32 years and never seen one and now I see them all over the neighborhood.  Is this a response to the deforestation done at the Center for Urban Horticulture?  I have seen them all along Surber Drive, on East and West Laurelhurst Drive and also deeper into the neighborhood.  They are eating my garden both vegetables and ornamentals.  I appreciate the coyotes for predation but they have exploded far outside the CUH. It seems the rabbits are coming over from CUH then up from the lake and moving into the neighborhood.

We were walking near Laurelhurst Elementary School and saw a bunny running east on NE 48th Street. It looked very healthy. Maybe it got out of someone's house. Hopefully it is safe.

Seems as if there has been an explosion in the number of rabbits in the neighborhood.  I noticed it way before SDOT's restoration work began, and before the 3 coyotes were killed at Talaris last June. Rabbits, both young and older, are everywhere in homes around Talaris, as well as in the Union Bay Natural area, near CUH. I usually see them late in the day. 
I've heard the upswing in the rabbit population is due to a peak throughout western Washington during this time of year.  Coyotes help control the rabbit population, as their is mostly small rodents, fruit, deer and rabbits. We have noticed the rabbit population has increased will the absence of  the three coyotes that were killed last summer.   
Larry Hubbell, who published his own local birding blog, Union Bay Watch, documenting wildlife at Union Bay told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff:

I would guess that they are reproducing well because there are lots of healthy plants in private yards and also perhaps maybe some get released, accidentally or on purpose, around Easter.  
The creatures that I think might keep their population under control are the bald eagles, red-tailed hawks and coyotes, the biggest factor in the city.  The eagles prefer fish and the hawks like to work over open grass,  beside the freeways, or fields.

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