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The Birds and The Bees (and Bunnies...)

By: Jamie Seitz
My backyard seems to be the perfect place to raise a brood of bunnies!

Baby bunnies digital illustration by Danielle Lowery

Baby bunny takeover

Although I wouldn’t call my raised garden beds romantic, the rabbits in my neighborhood sure like to use them in spring for their bunny rendezvous and subsequent nests.

Garden bed surprise

The first year it happened, I found the bunny babies entirely by accident as I was loosening the soil and preparing the bed for planting. Thank goodness for garden gloves because as I reached into the corner of the planter to pull out a wad of dried leaves, the fuzzy layer underneath began to wiggle and move. I may have screamed. Who am I kidding? I definitely screamed. Then I promptly stuffed the leaves back into place and decided to leave that particular bed alone for another month until the bunnies had moved on.

I’m a busy mom of four, so I could see how Mama Rabbit had a lot on her plate raising those babies. Like putting food on the table (or in the hole), keeping leaves over their heads, constantly patrolling for pesky canines, and whatever PTA committee duties she inevitably got roped into at the last bunny meeting. Evicting her during this precarious time just seemed wrong. They stayed, and my lettuce and spinach went in a month late. No big whoop.

The following year, I was expecting it. I noticed the nest, left it alone, and planted my lettuce in a bed with no busy bunnies. Unfortunately, that was the Spring of 2018, or the Spring We No Longer Speak of Because of All the Death. An unruly pack of raccoons wreaked havoc on our neighborhood that year, taking out those bunnies and a nest of baby chickadees in a birdhouse in my backyard the same week.

I don’t know that I’ve fully recovered from that mess. Word of our dangerous backyard must have spread because we saw very few rabbits in our yard for the next two years. The hiatus was short-lived.


Just when you think it’s safe...

Last spring, I came across a nest so late in the season, I was certain the bunnies had already grown and flown. With a stick, I poked around, pulling a few of the leaves away. No movement.

I poked a little more and pulled away a few more leaves. Still nothing. So, I pulled the last of the dried grass away. Big mistake!

You know when you go to the circus and the clowns keep tumbling out of the clown car, and you think there can’t possibly be more clowns in the car, but they keep coming? That’s the situation I found myself in. And those bunnies were pretty big. Jumping around my garden bed like it was the Thunderdome. As my husband grabbed one and tried to put it back in the hole, another would leap onto the ground where the dogs would chase it. I helped by screaming every time one hopped close to me. Pure chaos.

Ultimately, two bunnies escaped into the wild world beyond the backyard fence. Their brothers and sisters waited a few more days before venturing out. And I vowed to never touch a bunny nest until at least June.

Jamie Seitz loves a new year, almost as much as she loves her collection of Sharpies, starting a new book, opening a fresh jar of peanut butter, and the smell of laundry on a crisp, autumn morning.

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Published: Jan. 6, 2024

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