Afternoon of the Lepus

We get a lot of rabbits around here, kind of in cycles that occur every couple of years or so.

I’ve always thought they were pretty neat, and ridiculously cute as babies (which, I just learned the other day, are called kittens. Weird, right?) and this leads me into another long tale of ‘how I met my neighbours’. Check this out:

So I am sitting around my palatial mansion last Friday; because my life is such a laugh-a-minute thrill ride, and I decide to go outside for a cigarette.

(The palatial mansion is a non-smoking building, you see).

Anyway, I go out back into the alley and right away notice that a couple of neighbours are out on their balcony, yelling at something. They spot me and start yelling down, and I’m all “Sup?”

They tell me that a couple of magpies have gotten ahold of a baby rabbit (or ‘kitten’, as we have learned) in the yard of the building next door, and are fixing to croak it.

I go round a small hedge that is the only barrier to the yard, sure enough, two magpies are dragging the little animal around by his legs, getting really pecky with the terrorized critter.

Frightening the birds off with the time-tested technique of waving my arms and yelling obscenities at them, I find myself alone with the rabbit as the magpies settle on the roof of a garage and sit there watching us.

So I can’t really leave,  and the rabbit has compressed himself face-first into a curb around the house and is huddling there quaking.

It kinda reminded of that last scene in The Blair Witch Project, you know? With the guy standing in the corner?  I loved that film.

Incidentally, this is not the first time I couldn’t leave a scene because I watching out for something, and not the most unusual object.

At this point my neighbours from the balcony have come down, and now three of us stand around looking at the rabbit. One of them calls 311 and gets an opinion on what to do (and those options were: leave the animal there, as its parent may be around, or box it up and take it inside, but then you gotta whole ‘nother problem).

Of course, we then find the rest of the rabbitlings. Almost invisible, five more of them are huddled in a pile at the base of the weedy little hedge. They had probably escaped the notice of the magpies by not moving around; while the original rabbit was perhaps an ‘early hopper’.

Trouble is, the others are beginning to try to hop as well, but being as they were probably born, literally, yesterday, they weren’t very good at it and also didn’t exercise good judgement. The three of us keep gathering them up and returning them to the rabbit-pile.

Long story short: as the sun starts going down, the magpies leave and the kits become less active and remain in their huddle. And, fortunately, some adult rabbits (or maybe they’re hares, I don’t know to be honest) begin to show up on the perimeter. We all figure this is a good thing, and go back inside.

And thither, my friends, is how I met a couple of my neighbours, Josh and Sarah.

PS: I checked out the hedge the next morning and the whole group was gone, so it looks like they got on with wherever rabbits go when they aren’t hanging out with us.