Readers’ wildlife photographs

July 15, 2014 • 6:06 am

I can always count on Stephen Barnard of Idaho to come through with nice pictures, and this set next in the queue. (Thanks to readers who sent me photos. Some will be published soon, but remember that not every picture sent it will be published.)

Here we have a bird and a mammal (click all photos to enlarge):

Two great blue herons (Aredea herodias):

RT9A7973

RT9A7950

And what Stephen thinks is a mountain cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii):

Mountain cottontail Barnard

From Animal Diversity Web:

The mountain cottontail is solitary perhaps because food is a limiting factor and shelter in their environment can be sparse. It is active and on the move all year long, looking for areas with an ample food supply. The animal is crepuscular and feeds in or near sheltering brush. Severe weather limits their ability to gather food. Because food and sometimes moisture is sparse, energy is very important. The animal uses less than ten percent of its energy during the reproductive season to mate. After the mating season, males often become more secretive and stealthy. Females, however, are equally active throughout the year.

When the animal is frightened it runs several meters to an area where it can hide and freezes with its ears erect to assess the situation of danger. If the cottontail is further disturbed, it rapidly hops away and tries to trick the predator by running in a semicircular path.

. . . The gestation period is 28-30 days and the female can have four or five litters per year. The litter size is usually 4-8 but in California it is not unusual for a litter to consist of just two babies.

 

7 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs

  1. Great heron….one of my favorite birds, the ‘garza’ as I call them. As long as they roost in someone else yard. Frog poop is disgusting.

  2. A question for bird fans: how do herons and pelicans interact, ecologically speaking?

    I have a lake cottage on a small lake in central Minnesota. We used to see herons every day, as there was a rookery a couple of miles away. About ten years ago, a highway near it was expanded, creating a disturbance for most of that summer.

    Since then, we’ve seen very few herons, and in the last few years, we’ve started to see pelicans. Are they moving into the niche left by the herons?

  3. Thanks for the Herons. Really cool birds…and very successful survivors. I’ve lived in 4 states in the west, and I’ve seen blue Herons in every one; including eastern Wyoming at 6,000 feet!

    I love the blues and yellows in the Cottontail photo. Striking contrasts.

  4. Four to five litters a year with 4-8 babies each? If the population remains steady, that mean 14 to 38 adorable baby bunnies die for each mating pair! (not that they pair bond)

    Too bad they don’t move to somewhere warmer and greener!

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