On Sunday the 28th, we had another little English Sparrow arrive from Albany, and from Rotterdam, 7 baby Cottontail Rabbits.
Although this was a unique situation, and these babies did require rescuing, rabbits are one of the species that are often “rescued” unnecessarily. The mother rabbit does not stay with her offspring. She only comes to them once or twice a day to nurse, often around dawn and/or dusk. The rest of the time, she leaves them alone, so as not to attract predators to the nest.
If you find a baby rabbit, unless it is obviously injured or you know for a certainty that the mother is dead, please try to find the nest and put the baby back where it belongs. It’s not true that the mother will not return if she smells your scent on the bunny.
Eastern Cottontail Rabbits nest on the ground, in brush, in fields of high grass. They usually dig a shallow depression or hollow, covered only by the brush above or grasses and twigs. You’ll be able to recognize the nest by the fur the mother plucks from her own chest to line it, not to mention that there will probably be other babies in it. A litter can consist of as many as a dozen kits, which begin to venture out of the nest around their twelfth day and are fully weaned and on their own at about 7 weeks.