Desert Cottontail in northern Utah – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/5000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I got skunked yesterday as far as locating and photographing birds except for a few images of a Western Meadowlark, a Chukar and a far away aerial fight between a Golden Eagle and a Raven that weren’t the best quality. There are days like that for bird photographers. Lots of days like that. Days when every thing seems to go wrong. The birds are absent or harder than normal to locate or the ones I do find seem more skittish than usual or the birds I see are way to far away. It just happens.
But it was wonderful to see snow on the mountains and clear down into the valleys, it was nice to feel the nip in the air and actually be able to see for miles and miles because there were no visible signs of an inversion in sight.
My best photos of the day were of a Desert Cottontail in the snow and that isn’t saying much because of the annoying grass stem that intersects the rabbit’s ears. I really wish that grass stem hadn’t been there but I don’t see these small, desert dwelling rabbits all that often and I am always delighted when I do. They usually blend in so well with their habitat that I am sure I have missed spotting quite a few of them but in the snow they do stand out.
Anyway… I might just be photographing feeder birds or birds at my local pond the next few days as the weather forecast looks rather dismal.
Life is good.
A few facts about Desert Cottontails:
- Desert Cottontails are light colored rabbits of the western U.S. whose fur has shades of tan to gray with a yellowish undertone.
- They are found in arid lands of the American Southwest and Plains states. Their range extends from eastern Montana south into the western tip of Texas and into Mexico and the western part of their range into Nevada, southern California and the Baja.
- Their habitat includes dry deserts, dry grasslands and shrublands, sagebrush steppe, pinyon-juniper forests and riparian areas.
- Desert Cottontails rarely need to drink, instead they get water mostly from the plants they eat or from dew.
- Desert Cottontails can breed at eighty days old and will breed about 8 months of year. A normal litter is about two to six young. The young leave the nest at three weeks of age.
- Ninety percent of a Desert Cottontails diet is grass but they will eat plants, forbs, cacti and shrubs. They will also eat the bark from tree branches that are close to the ground.