A few days ago Ron and I were photographing Black-billed Magpies when I noticed a Black-tailed Jackrabbit come out from behind the base of a sagebrush. The light wasn’t all that good for photographing mostly black and white birds so when I saw the hare I aimed my lens at it. I am just a plain ole bird photographer who doesn’t often pass up the chance to photograph furry critters either. And I do love the jackrabbits.
I had only taken two frames when a Black-billed Magpie flew in low from my right and landed, then hopped across my field of view in front of the jackrabbit then out of my sight. I sure wish I had been using more depth of field, I might have gotten both the bird and the hare in focus!
It only took tenths of a second for the magpie to be out to the frame but then I noticed the jackrabbit acting a little strange.
The jackrabbit raised itself up on all four legs so I expected it to bound away while I kept on taking frame after frame hoping to get a shot of the hare leaping forward. At this point the jackrabbit was looking towards our mobile blind (a pickup) and not in the direction the magpie had gone.
I was drawn to the jackrabbit’s strange posture and behavior and slowed down my burst rate because it is just plain awful when great action happens when you buffer is filled up!
The Black-tailed Jackrabbit arched its back while still keeping an eye on us and I thought the arched back looked very similar to a domestic cat when it gets riled up or frightened about something. I half expected the hare to hiss at us. Still, I kept firing the shutter button slowly, not want to miss a great shot.
After a few seconds the jackrabbit seemed to relax, it lowered its back some and the back legs seemed to return to a more normal position. The only noises close by were the sounds of mine and Ron’s cameras clicking away.
Eventually the hare rested on its back haunches in a completely relaxed pose, the only thing the jackrabbit was moving was its ears and twitching whiskers.
Was it a defensive posture, or was the jackrabbit just stretching? I am still not sure why the jackrabbit reacted the way it did, I don’t believe the Black-billed Magpie would be considered a threat by the rabbit. We’d been sitting quietly in the truck for quite some time quietly photographing the birds so I would not think our presence had bothered the hare but the seemingly nervous reaction and behavior of it was interesting and I’m glad I was there to see what occurred.
The jackrabbit bent its head down and nibbled on its foot then about the time my buffer filled up the hare leapt away from my sight and I missed the shot!