For the last few years, strategically placed trail cameras have recorded the stories and lives of the wild animals in a special suburban wild-space that is surrounded by roads and buildings. Recent videos from the cams give us a ten day glimpse of urban wildlife in the canyon.
It’s always a delight to review the memory cards. Sometimes all we see are people, dogs and deer, other days, we are treated to videos of bobcats, the occasional mountain lion, coyotes and dusky footed woodrats.
During the last 10 days, bobcat kittens, rabbits and deer were the trail cams urban wildlife stars. The largest predators that were recorded were adult bobcats. Mountain lions, coyotes and foxes did not venture in front of the cameras.
A bobcat kitten was repeatedly filmed bopping up and down the trail for a couple of days. The little one was not accompanied by mum or siblings—perhaps he was separated from his family. I hope that this baby eventually reunited with his mum. He’s too young and vulnerable to be out alone.
The next day he’s filmed again, but this time heading in the opposite direction on the trail. There are five more videos of this sweet baby alone.
Something startled this youngster. He might be the same little solitary bobcat kitten from a few days ago, but the ruff around his face seems more prominent than the kitten’s. This little one is so frightened, he momentarily freezes in place, then hurries away, keeping as low to the ground as possible, trying not to be seen. No possible threats were recorded before or after.
This gorgeous bobcat is frequently filmed near the creek. Check out the stripes on the inside of his back legs.
Deer are frequent visitors, often whole families show up, looking for vegetation to munch on.
These prehistoric looking marsupials fill an important niche in the eco-system. They are cleanup crews, eating an assortment of stuff, dead and alive, including garbage, snails and mice. Thank them—they also eat ticks. Unfortunately, the cams haven’t filmed any possums with babies riding on their backs.
There is at least one rabbit who lives at the fork in the trail. It’s amazing he hasn’t caught the eye of the resident predators. Rabbits are part of the diets of bobcats, coyotes and raptors. Usually he’s filmed at night, seldom during the day. I am rooting for his continual survival.
Protect the urban wildlife
Thank you to those of you who appreciate wildlife and understand the importance of keeping your dogs on leashes, not allowing them to run through the fragile habitats. You set a good example.
The cameras give us small windows for viewing the fragile eco-system. They let us glimpse vignettes of canyon wildlife and how it’s impacted by humans as well as natural events.
Marilyn is a certified cat behavior consultant. Not surprisingly, she’s fascinated by feline behaviors. This started with household cats and then after witnessing a puma being killed a few blocks from her home in the suburbs, expanded to include local mountain lions and bobcats. A few years after the tragedy, she joined the Bay Area Puma Project/Felidae Conservation Fund, maintaining trail cameras, writing and helping wherever she can. She is focusing on how urbanization is affecting apex predators’ behaviors.
She is also an author and educator. Her book Naughty No More! focuses on solving cat behavior issues through clicker training, environmental changes as well as other positive reinforcement techniques. She gives presentations throughout the United States as well as writes columns and articles for a variety of venues. She is also frequently interviewed for print and on line publications. Additionally Marilyn is a frequent guest on television and radio and has appeared, along with her Bengals and Savannah Cat on Animal Planet, CBS, ABC, KGO and others.
Join Marilyn for lively discussions about all things feline on her Facebook page.