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Old May 28, 2005, 4:28 PM   #1
DBB
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[img]www.davidbarkinphotography.com/Temp/BKBUN1.JPG[/img]

[img]www.davidbarkinphotography.com/Temp/BKBUN3.JPG[/img]

[img]www.davidbarkinphotography.com/Temp/BKBUNNY4.JPG[/img]


The Brooklyn Eastern Cotton tail has been an isolated population for at least a 100 years, perhaps quite a bit longer. They are much larger than any bunnies I've seen elsewhere, perhaps 6 or 7 pounds, larger than a good sized cat.

I've thought about this and wonder, that this size increase might be because their only natural enemies in Brooklyn are Birds of pray. Mind you, you don't see bunnies in the streets of Brooklyn:lol:

They live out in the isolated beach front parks, and undeveloped shore land. There are no feral dogs out there, and only a few cats.

dave

An addendum:

These bunnies are way to big to be eaten by cats. I suspect they are evolving for larger size to escape the Hawks that DO pray on them. There's no other predator out there...

Since there no incentive to remain small, and every incentive to get larger, than indeed, that's just what's happening. A larger bunny would be more vulnerable to foxes and Coyotee's. But there are no such predators in Brooklyn

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Old May 28, 2005, 11:00 PM   #2
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And those ears are big too.

Interesting info and good pictures. Nicely done.

Eric
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Old May 29, 2005, 9:01 AM   #3
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It's a funny thing. I don't really shoot bunnies, so for two years I notice them every now and then. They are a hair (no pun intended) more timid than up-state bunnies.

Finally I notice; "man these are big bunnies!"

I noticed this when my dog chased one. (Bad Chato, bad Chato, no buiscuit) and would have caught it if I hadn't of stopped him, because the bunny had a hard time in the brush. I suddenly realised that a normal bunny would have used the brush to escape the "predator," while this one was to big.

Some kid doing his thesis should look into this.

dave
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Old May 29, 2005, 11:17 AM   #4
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Kinda reminds me of an island fox off... California somehwere. (Read about it in the dentist's office.) The population was doing great, naturalists thought all was fine. 8 years later someone went there to check on them and they were almost all gone. Poof.

They had no idea what happened.

A year or so of researching (interviewing people, observing the islands and the lands around it) and they found that DDT (gotta love how that is the route of so many problems) had soften bald eagle eggs and dropped their population. Golden eagles moved in. They started feeding on an introduced pig that escaped and spread like bunnies. This food supply brought in many goldens. They also started picking off this easy furry little creature - the island fox. Almost wiped it out.

They've been able to reintroduce bald eagles, which are so teratorial they drive off the goldens' but eat fish so the foxes are safe. And they are trying to trap the pigs (easier said than done.) And the foxes are slowly recovering.

I agree, they should study the bunnies. I bet there is a good deal to learn from them. That type of issolation almost always leads to interesting things.

Eric

ps. Ok, that was a digression. But an interesting one, I hope.
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Old May 29, 2005, 12:07 PM   #5
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This was a VERY intersting digression. It occurs to me that on this board, which has so many amateur naturalists, we probably have a tremendous amount of in-board observations which are very relevant.

How many actual scientists are there studying this stuff anyway? Must be spread pretty thin...

I remarked on ths size of these bunnies (and man do I love that word, they are SOOOOO cute) and she repled that I was imagining this, so I took her to Floyd Bennet air feild, where it's easiest to see them and she was also impressed.

(Not to get carried away here, but even a BIG bunny is not a very big animal - sort of raises the image of Godzilla bunnies :lol: )

And it makes me wonder about my ability to observe, because like I said, I've been seeing them for years.

We shouldn't take our observations for granted...

And one other thing, which is probably NOT relevant, but the few feral cats that I see are all very small....

But most feral cats live in the City itself and not out on the beaches.

Dave
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Old May 30, 2005, 1:56 AM   #6
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I love the colors and detail.
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