CabBits Blog by Cadbury

 
Cadbury offers insights into the world of house rabbits.
The Life of the Endangered Cooper's Hawk

It has been a long time since my last blog. My human parents have been taking good care of the house rabbit children. They purchased a new condominium with a staircase (that's new) and new willow tree woven tents and tunnels. They even bought some seagrass mats on sale. The vendor sent us some wheat grass. We are so used to Timothy and Oat hay that this is quite a change in a bunny diet.

On May 19, 2012, the world seemed like it was coming to an end. The wide, dark shadow of a 35-inch wingspan flew overhead and the sound of the flapping wings sent a shiver into all who were in the yard that afternoon. The distinctive, slow wingbeat sent bunnies into willow tents and human's calling out with urgency. "Get the camera and take a look at the size of that thing while I plan the route to pick up the bunnies to bring them into the house." Alas, humans have interesting priorities. Meanwhile, the adult male Cooper's hawk found a perch on the bunny fence in the yard. He looked over his right shoulder and then over his left shoulder. His red eyes scanning the humans who were snapping photographs while the bunnies were on their own, well hidden. The hawk finally gave out an egotistical series of calls and flew off to the western sunlight.

The human parents were truly concerned. For the past month, they have kept their ears tuned for the new Cooper's Hawk in the neighborhood. They hear the call from atop the telephone pole in front of the house. The parents have decided to name the hawk Sheldon in honor of some situation comedy they enjoy called The Big Bang Theory. Apparently, there is a main character that is a very demanding, self-centered physicist named Dr. Sheldon Cooper. Bluebell hears her parents laughing nearly every evening during reruns of the show and it irritates her if the sound is too loud or there is conversation during the muted commercials discussing the details of the humor. Ivan seems to be happy the parents being at home as much as possible and he is determined to sneak into the living room to enjoy everything humans do in that room.

Sheldon has a partner. She visits his telephone pole in his absence. Otherwise, Sheldon rules the top of that key vantage point. Steve was in the backyard and heard the call of Sheldon. When he looked up he could see Sheldon clearly overlooking the yard from the front yard perch. If we can see him, he can see the bunnies in the yard. Sheldon swoops down periodically to capture small birds who love the bunny yard filled with hay seeds, flowers, lavendar, and thistle seed. Barbara stopped filling the thistle feeder to deter Sheldon from taking the lovely Goldfinch families. He does catch small birds two or three times per day (at least) based on the trumpeting he does as he eats his daily meals. The song he sings while he eats can be heard all over the neighborhood. We have to admit that he is part of the Universe of creatures and that he has his place on earth. The endangered designation let's us know that his kind has not had it easy due to the urbanization for his homeland. So as rabbits have become house rabbits, so too does the grassland and open space Cooper's hawk named Sheldon with his companion, named Amy (based on the sitcom too), have adapted to their new environment catching suburban mice, roof rats and small birds. Hopefully, house rabbits are too heavy for him to consider picking up for a fast meal and can peacefully co-exist with his specias and their incredible ability to fly with speed and grace. Rabbits do not like the skill of swooping and picking up "food" from the ground or mid-air captures, but every thing has advantage and disadvantages as it attempts to adapt and survive. It is not the end of the world after all. It is just nature taking its course. Feel the fear and get over it.

Cadbury is signing off until the next blog time is available.

Ivan and Bluebell

Happy New Year 2012!

Ivan is infatuated with Bluebell. Over the past month, Ivan has mirrored Bluebell's behavior whenever she is aware of his presence. He grooms when she grooms.  He nibbles when she nibbles. He rests when she rests. Even while Bluebell is busy in her pen or ignoring him, Ivan sits just outside of her pen patiently watching over her, protecting her, and loving her.

Every morning and evening Ivan sits or lays on the towel the humans placed along Bluebell's pen. Bluebell has begun to lay parallel to Ivan and even lean against him with pen between them. Now that I, Cadbury, is out of the picture Bluebell is free to consider Ivan. She is feisty and likes to be in charge. Ivan is gradually giving up his domineering attitude to give way to a softer, neighborly approach. Bluebell has settled into a routine that has less anxiety and frustration.

Yesterday, the humans left Bluebell's pen door open. This was a great test. Bluebell and Ivan have needed to be separated based on Bluebell's sneaky and bold behavior. She attracts Ivan to her and then leaps over him while giving him a bite in mid-air! The last time she did that, I was in the way and Ivan chased after me. He had no idea is was his precious Bluebell. Bluebell was so fast, he thought I had given him a nip. This time, Ivan entered Bluebell's pen while she was in it! Our human Dad was worried but waited to see who he would he could grab first to prevent an attack. Ivan explored the perimeter of the pen with Bluebell on his heels. However, she did not bite him, leap over him or lay in wait for him behind her willow tunnel or litter box. Human Dad was so relieved. He let Ivan make a few circles around the pen before picking him up. This was a brief experiment. I think the Human Parents will now attempt to place Ivan and Bluebell in the yard together and see if they can co-exist for 30 to 40 minutes.

If this is successful over longer and longer periods of time, then Love does conquer all! The Human Parents and our Foster Mom have always been hopeful that bonding would take place. Only time will tell!

The Romance Continues

We met Ivan in late July after he lost Charlotte, the love of his life. In neutral spaces at the Foster Mom's house, Ivan fell in love with Bluebell. I had not problems with that as long as Bluebell continued to groom me on demand. My human companions call me the "Surfer Dude" or "Hippie" bunny because I am so mellow and easy-going with everything that comes along and I share my love all of the time. I guess you could say, I glow with joy 24x7!

Ivan is somewhat territorial but I think if Bluebell would stop playing "hard to get" he would give up being the dominant rabbit of the house to receive grooming and snuggle time from Bluebell. At first, he would push the pen we were in from all three sides in the dining room. He would tug, push, lift it up with his teeth and drop it with that metal clatter that would bring human companions to see what he was doing. Our "Dad" human companion had to add an additional mesh around the bottom 1/3 of the pen to keep Bluebell and Ivan from biting each other on the nose. Eventually, they just glared at each other.

Over time, Ivan became an intent observer of Bluebell. He watched us groom each other, watched her groom herself, how we ate, drank water, tossed our hay and all. Human beings might call this stalking behavior. However, his observations were love and curiosity. In a few weeks, he began to do things he has never done before. Charlotte and Ivan were once treated so poorly and fed all of the wrong things that they were morbidly obese and could not clean themselves at all. It took them one year to be rehabilitated at the House Rabbit Society in CA. There new home allowed them to run, jump, and reduce their weight to become healthy, flexible rabbits. They never learned to do anything but groom each other or rely on humans to bathe, comb, brush, and groom them. So, Ivan was trying to learn what we were doing. In the rabbit world, mimicking other rabbits is a sign of affection or desire to be friends and join a group. Since September, Ivan has learned to wash his ears, face and body on his own. I am so proud that Bluebell and I were able to give him lessons and this is love of Bluebell motivated him to mimick our grooming habits.

Our human "Mom" was thrilled. She is such an observant person and notices all of the subtleties of life and behavior. She told "Dad" that Ivan is really learning to do the grooming for himself but still misses Charlotte. She tries to mimick Charlotte grooming his head and ears but Ivan soon realizes it is not that lovely, soft tongue of a rabbit but a rougher finger of a human, dipped in water. He puts his head down and the grooming begins. He closes his eyes and thinks of Charlotte but when our "Mom" (the human one) tries to groom his cheeks, neck and back he realizes it is NOT bunny love and runs into his condo to hide. Mom is sad. I think that she is doing the best she can to help Ivan complete his mourning.

Next time, I am going to go back in time to tell the story about how and why Mom became a human that is in love with rabbits.

 

Rabbit Romance

When I was first introduced to Ivan it was at my Foster Mom's rescue center. The humans called it "neutral territory" and Bluebell fell for Ivan immediately. I kept my distance. Bluebell and Ivan spent nearly one hour flirting and rubbing noses. I knew all along that Bluebell thought I was too passive and "surfer dude" for her ambitions. She was open to a new beau. I just wanted to have a new home with the two humans that picked us at the pet store. I could get along with any rabbit to have heaven on earth with them.

Just after one hour of peace, Bluebell saw me sitting out in front of Ivan. Ivan was so relaxed with us. Suddenly, Bluebell decided to create jealousy. She ran along the side of Ivan and nipped him. She leapt over me and left Ivan to decide what happened. He decided it was my fault and want to bite me in the behind. The humans stopped talking and jumped into action. They separated us and realized they had left Bluebell with Ivan too long. This ended the potential for true bonding.

To this day, Bluebell entices Ivan but never really has loving intentions. She continues to play the "hard to get" role of a princess instead of realizing that she could have rule over the entire kitchen and dining room if she would only get along with Ivan. Our human companions keep hoping that she will accept Ivan. So far, their hopes have been dashed. She and Ivan lay next to each other every single day and night with a fence between them. When we are outside, Bluebell and Ivan follow each other along the fence that keeps them apart. Bluebell shows off by running, leaping, and dashing around the lawn. Ivan is too old to display his skills. He sits at the fence and pines for her. She comes back to the fence now and then to give him attention. He lives for her attention. She just leads him on over and over again.

Human beings cannot understand how or why rabbits make fast decisions about other rabbits they meet. Of course, the humans we have met have never had to face a predator or use their inner animal instincts. We love the yard because we can practice our skills of dodging predators and mapping our space for a safe haven in case a predator appears. It is a part of our natural development to hide, move faster than lightening to confuse a predator and to leap away from being captured without injury. There are hawks in the neighborhood. Cats are also free to roam over the fence too. We always have to ready.

Home Friday

Our human companions are home all day today. It does upset the rabbit calculation of weekdays versus weekends, but we gladly endure these variations of human routine to have them at home with us. Ivan is the senior house rabbit and he is the "Watch Bunny" of the household when the humans are not home. Ivan takes his position outside of Bluebell's pen. He wants to protect other rabbits (like he did with his late Charlotte and the aging Nutmeg before he passed on to Bunny Heaven). He also is in love with Bluebell. She pretends to take an interest but then nips and bites him. Ivan is not used to a female rabbit being so fickle and aggressive. He dominated Charlotte, so he assums that Bluebell will also submit to his affection and groom him when he requests it. The humans had to build an extra layer of netting at the bottom of the pen to keep Ivan and Bluebell from biting each other on the nose.

Today, Bluebell is out on the lawn trying to keep a squirrel from digging in "her" yard. She is very territorial. I am very happy-go-lucky and easy going, so it doesn't bother me. Ivan avoids other beings like birds and squirrels. He has priorities, like watching for hawks. Just two houses away, there is a large tree with the nest of the local hawk couple. Each spring they have two or three offspring. When the juveniles are ready to learn to hunt, they sit on the utility pole or in the "Mimosa" tree above us trying to figure out what to do. One year, a male hawk flew into the hawthorne tree looking to grab sparrows and smaller birds. He made his way down the branches from the top. Little did he know that the little birds were flying out of the side of the entire tree to escape. The sparrows sat on the top of the roof chirping angrily while the young hawk was trapped in the center of the tree branches. He couldn't go down or out because his size and wingspan was too great for the dense branches. He spent 15 minutes crying out for his parents and then finally hopped his way back up to the open area at the top of the tree. My human Mom was laughing and found it interesting that he was a hawk in training. Her favorite bird is our residence Black Phoebe. She listens for the snap, snap, flutter of his fly catching from our plum tree. He sings for her in the morning and late afternoon.

This is Home Friday for us and I am so glad that our human companions do not participate in Black Friday (that I overhead on the lighted box with moving pictures keeps talking about). They are not typical materialistic citizens. That means there is more time and money for our cuddle cup, fleece blankets, treats, and toys! Hooray. I am still very thankful for our life with our humans.

Thanksgiving

What is all the fuss about turkeys today? I have heard my human companions talk about being thankful for so many things all week long. It gave me pause to think about my life as a house rabbit. After all, I was rescued, spent time with my foster care Mom, met a lovely lady rabbit, Bluebell, met hundreds of people at the pet store, and then we moved here. It is wonderful place that is truly heaven. I do have so much to be thankful for in life. I have a safe home, loving companion in BlueBell, a new big brother named Ivan, fresh hay and water each day, and time outdoors for the first time in my life. Each day, our human companions give us safe time outdoors to run, leap, sleep, nibble grass, watch birds and squirrels, watch for hawks and cats, and so on. There are opportunities for us to map our space and practice escaping predators without real fear. We get plenty of sunlight and fresh air. It is a new freedom that house rabbits dream of all over the world.

I am thankful for my home, my daily fresh food and fresh water. I am thankful for loving human beings and rabbits alike. Ivan has told me about cats and dogs that are companions to humans too. He even mentioned a blue parakeet that stayed in this house for a week or so. It is all very interesting. Ivan has such a long history and he is wise. He is nearly 9 years old! Bluebell is only 5 years old and she was rescued too. Ivan said that he had a lover named Charlotte. He and Charlotte were thankful to be rescued too. All of us never left a small cage and were abused until we found "heaven" on earth.

I don't understand the turkey part, but I am truly thankful I am not a turkey at this time of year (from what I evidence I gathered). I also very thankful I am here and able to blog now and then.

Many blessings of the day in America! Cadbury

Time Lost

There are two entries today on my blog because the humans had to go away for a long time. It was a sudden, important trip and it interrupted my Internet access. My routine was ruined and they should know that rabbits are organized, orderly and fastidious by now. My humans have had rabbits for 17 years. I picked them because they are fairly good with longevity for rabbits. When I first arrived, I felt like I was already in bunny heaven. I was caged most of my life and never had room to exercise. I begged for attention constantly and all I received for years was fingers rubbing the top of my nose through a cage. When my current couple of humans saw me in the pet shop among others, with my new partner Bluebell, they spoke with intellifence. They were wondering why any human being would treat us so poorly. Granted I was weak and older than they were told. I was surprised that they adopted us. Bluebell was determined to be happy with these two humans. I just mellowed out and said, "What will be, will be." Despite the disruption in our routine and the human time change thing, Bluebell and I are very happy. We have at least 2 to 4 hours of exercise time in the grass. We ignore the squirrels and watch for hawks but it is an adventure every day. Tomorrow, I will begin the tales of rabbithood more consistently now that humans are settling down for the "holiday" season. Whatever that means. I hope there are timothy hay with a touch of alfalfa heart-shaped treats involved.

On Humans

Living with human beings is a challenge at times. They come and go. At least, the never forget to provide fresh timothy hay, water and a clean place for rabbits to live. We rabbits once shared space with two cats. The female cat used to jump over the bunny gates from the bedrooms, through the kitchen and dining room, into the living room. She would sit on the back of the recliner to stare down on us. We rabbits are corraled into the kitchen and dining room area. Humans tell us it is "For your safety and protection" but it is frustrating that we cannot map the entire house. I know there is much more space to explore in this home but humans prevent it. There are times when I sneak into the living room or hallway. My feet get great traction on the thing they call carpeting! Before I can run at top speed, I am forced back on to the slippery floor. The humans laugh and say "We caught you. We can hear the 'click, click, click' of your toenails. How cute!" but I am not happy. One time I got as far as the couch and the human female thumped on the floor with her hand. She thought she was talking rabbit-ese but alas I ignored her words about "Cadbury can't get to the electrical cords. One of them doesn't have a cord cover to protect him." The male human is very nice and allows rabbits into the yard for running and leaping. He came to pick me up and supposedly "rescued" me for disaster. All I wanted was to see where the humans spend their time every evening and weekend.

Meet Cadbury and his CatBits blog. Today, is the launch day!

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