Taking a morning walk is one of the best ways to start your day. As you begin your stroll, you might notice the fresh air filling your lungs and the sun warming your skin. The early morning light can be particularly beautiful, with the sun rising over the horizon and casting a golden glow across the landscape. As you walk, you might notice the world around you beginning to wake up. Birds chirp in the trees and animals scurry about in search of food. You might even spot a few early risers jogging or walking their dogs, each person lost in their own thoughts and enjoying the solitude of the morning hours.
To be completely honest, I like it best when I don’t meet people. For this reason, I prefer to leave the house early enough to minimize human encounters. I like to be alone on my morning walks. It’s my zen time when I am relaxed, alone with my thoughts and connected to nature.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to take a morning walk is the sense of peace and serenity that it brings. It’s a time to clear your mind and reflect on your goals and aspirations for the day ahead. You can take a moment to appreciate the small things in life, like the beauty of a flower or the sound of a flowing river. I can guarantee that after a morning in nature you will feel completely relaxed and revitalized.
One of the joys of taking a morning walk is the possibility of encountering wildlife. So today, during my morning walk, I noticed something small and brown on the path out of the corner of my eye. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Something small and brown on the sidewalk, what could it be? But no, it wasn’t what you think. It was a little bunny.
I slowly approached him, wondering what this small animal, which is obviously still a cub, was doing alone and unprotected. At that moment, I saw a big crow above me carrying another little bunny in its beak. A heartbreaking sight, but that’s the part of life in nature, isn’t it?
Anyway, I knew I had to save this bunny. Fortunately, I read enough texts on what to do in that situation, as if I knew that one day I would find a bunny that needed help. I slowly approached the bunny and touched him lightly so as not to scare him. I quickly examined him to make sure he was unharmed and took him in my hand.
As I stepped onto the grass, still thinking about what to do with the bunny, I spotted another small brown fur ball curled up in the grass. They were obviously from the same litter, I concluded, which means that the nest must be nearby. Rabbits build nests in the middle of meadows. If you think it’s a stupid idea because they’re not protected, you’re wrong because the idea is actually brilliant. Rabbits build nests in meadows to protect themselves from predators who do not want to hunt in the open space for their own safety.
The problem is that it is not easy to spot a rabbit’s nest until you are on top of it, which is why nests are often damaged during lawn maintenance. Sometimes the nest is discovered by dogs or children, and sometimes by adults who are curious to see what is hiding behind a pile of grass thrown in the middle of the lawn.
I gently took the second bunny and decided that I would try to find the nest, and if I didn’t succeed, I would call a wildlife organization to take them over. Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to find the nest where two other little bunnies were sleeping, completely unharmed and unaware of the whole drama. A sweet sight that I will never forget.
I put the two bunnies down among their siblings, covered them with the fur that was in the nest and put grass and leaves on top to protect them as much as possible. I remained standing by the nest for a while to make sure there were no curious and hungry crows or other predators, and then I left so as not to scare the mother bunny when she returned home to her babies.
I hope she won’t be too sad when she discovers that one bunny is missing, but four were saved and unharmed, so it could have been a lot worse. On the way back from the walk, I returned the same way to check the nest and it was intact, just as I had left it. I hope mama bunny comes home soon.
But after returning home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the bunnies and whether I had done the right thing, so I called my local wildlife organization to tell them what had happened. They convinced me that I could not have done better and that the bunnies have an excellent chance of survival precisely because of what I did.
So what do you do if you find a bunny and don’t see mommy around?
First, let’s debunk the biggest myth circulating on social media – no, a mother bunny will not abandon her babies if a human touches them. That doesn’t mean you should walk the meadows looking for baby bunnies to pet, but also if you find a bunny in a place where it shouldn’t be, pick it up and take it to safety. Mother bunnies do not abandon their young easily, least of all because of the “human smell” on them.
People often think that the nest is abandoned because the mother is not there, but this is usually not the case. The mother bunny is smart and only visits the nest when necessary to avoid drawing attention to it and it’s only once a day. Yeah, you read it right. Mama Bunny is always around and will return to the babies when it’s time to feed and clean, usually early in the morning or late at night but not more often because she doesn’t want to draw unwanted attention to the nest and the babies in it.
If you find a nest, check if the bunnies are okay. If there are no visible injuries or blood, cover the nest with grass and leaves and do not disturb them again. If the bunnies are in danger like mine were today, take them to the nest, cover them and wait a bit next to them to make sure they are safe.
If the bunny is injured, call your local wildlife organization so they can give you the best advice on what to do. Do not feed the bunnies or give them water as this can be stressful and the wrong food can kill them.
After all, as the vet I spoke with told me today, if the bunny is furry and knows how to get out of the nest on its own, then it will be fine. It’s ready for independent life and survival in the wild.
Resist the urge to take the bunny home. You will do more harm than good. A cottontail rabbit can easily die in the wrong conditions, and even if it survives, keep in mind that a wild rabbit is not a good pet.
As I watched the bunnies this morning, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the simple pleasures in life. Sometimes it’s the small moments, like spotting and saving a group of bunnies on your morning walk, that bring the most joy and fulfillment.
Not only did the bunnies brighten my mood, but they also provided a reminder of the interconnectedness of all living things. We share this world with a vast array of creatures, each with their own unique role to play. Seeing the bunnies reminded me to appreciate the beauty of nature and to cherish the diverse ecosystem that surrounds us.
As Dr. Albert Schweitzer said – “Until man extends compassion to all living things, he himself will not find peace.”
Overall, encountering the bunnies on my morning walk was a delightful and memorable experience. It brought me back to the present moment and reminded me to find joy in the simple things in life. And to answer that question – yes, I totally wanted to take the bunny home with me.