This won’t impress any professional wildlife photographers. It impresses me, however. It’s one of my personal best rabbit pictures to date. Just having a chance to fill the frame with a mammal is victory enough. It is cropped some, but not a lot. This is a picture I probably would not have taken without being on my personal One Picture a Day challenge. I was running late after work. I pulled the camera out of the car in the parking lot. The Nikon 70-300mm AF-S ED VR happened to be attached to my Nikon D90. I was in a hurry, so I went with it. A few steps from my car I saw several rabbits grazing. This is a public area natural area; the rabbits are wary but fairly patient. Moreover, I believe this is a young adult; younger mammals are often less wary at first. He or she looked a bit lanky for being surrounded by food, like a gangly teen. As I approached, I discovered three more rabbits of almost identical size and condition within a few yards of each other. I surmise a group of siblings that will be disbursing soon. The timing is about right for having been born in early spring with full maturity at 2-3 months.
These siblings have a tough year ahead. Adult annual survival is only 20%. The principal predator of cottontail rabbits in Pennsylvania, where this photo was taken, is the Great Horned Owl. Still, there will be no shortage of rabbits in this meadow, I’m sure, if past experience holds.