Rabbits in the grass

Finishing mowing the lawn. There was a tall grassy patch next to the driveway which I had not mowed at all since moving in. I almost mowed a nest of baby rabbits. (No graphic details.. the story ends well). It was a shock..

I finally got around to the section of long grass that hadn’t been mowed in weeks by my driveway. I have an electric mower so it was not too tough.

At one point, I was mowing, and I stopped under a short tree. I heard some birds chirping. I looked up for the bird’s nest. It wasn’t there. Then I listened more and the chirping came from below. I looked down to see a small mesh of twigs and cotton and bird feathers. It looked like the bird’s nest fell.

I looked down at the nest, clearly it was top-down. I heard chirping coming from beneath it, and saw a little bit of movement. The birds are alive.. wow.. I looked closer at the twigs, looking for baby bird-shapes.. I didnt see them so I used my sneaker to gently move the nest a little bit

And there they were… four tiny, round, fuzzy baby rabbits nestled on each other, barely as big as mice, chirping in fear..

I put the nesting material back in place, which the parent rabbits obviously collected as insulating cover, and started to freak out. I had narrowly avoided mowing these babies.

The thoughts of chasing the adult rabbits a few weeks ago out of my yard, those thoughts of “Damn you, rabbits! get out of my vegetable patch!” flooded to the surface, I instantly regretted thinking any harmful thoughts towards the rabbits. Now, their babies were exposed to the elements, and I had to do something..

I ran into my yard and grabbed a box, the kind that vegetables get packed in bulk. It was damp but it had slots on either side. I rushed back to the baby rabbits and put the box over the nest. Success.

A juvenile rabbit was trying to hop away. It was too small and too weak to get anywhere. It was shaking visibly from trauma. I got a fat stuck and gently coaxed it back towards the box, the almost-wreckage of its nest. I saw bare ground where it had hopped to — that must have been the original nest and the babies had gotten moved.

Well the most adventurous baby rabbit didn’t want to go under the box. I didn’t know whether to touch it.. but it was just a baby. So I scooped it in my hand as softly as possible and brought it the final 12 inches to the box, where it hopped in right away into the dark.

I spent a few minutes scouring the area for any babies that might have got scattered. I felt flooded with anxiety that maybe I had killed some babies with the mower. I felt kind of numb. I only found the same adventurous juvenile trying to hop out of the box. I put it back in the box and watched over the box for several minutes. The baby didn’t emerge again.

They should be safe and sound for now.. but a box over the nest is pretty obvious, I hope it’s not mistaken for garbage..

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