{coyotes and rabbits and dogs, oh my!}

Last week I reported a bee invasion at the hummingbird feeders. After several attempts to restore backyard harmony, I was left with only one reasonable option. Down came the feeders. I lament time lost, as well as the toll of effort, but I learned a lot about the birds and bees.

Our urban wildlife challenge continued this week, however, and could have been more startling and destructive than our concern for bee stings.

Do you remember this photo?

coyote walking up the street

The nearby San Gabriel Country Club provides a fertile habitat for a variety of wild species we would like to avoid encountering on a morning walk. Pets and small children are a constant concern when coyotes are on the prowl, and our pet rabbit, Pinky, is one of those concerns.

When Zena very unexpectedly came to us as a rescue we had to move Pinky from the gated backyard to the front yard. We knew there were risks, but with limited location options, we provided her a condo, complete with upper story safehouse, and did what we could to be alert.

Pinky in her condo

This has been our “plan” for almost three years, but this plan was severely tested this week. We discovered coyote tracks patterned throughout the rose bed and leading right to her cage. What were our options? Try the backyard? With the dog?

Sometime late Sunday morning Jay got started. He took the cage apart to relocate it while also finding the necessary materials to create a solid surface bottom–rabbits can tunnel out before you even know they’re digging.

We had to relocate a few backyard plants to make space for her very ample condo and then once placed we worked to provide enough cover to shield her from the late afternoon sun.

Then came the moment of truth.

Zena knows Pinky. Zena doesn’t pay any attention to her in the front yard. Zena is gentle…


Who knew she could jump right on top of the cage and begin ripping, tearing and chewing the wood frame? I’d have taken photos or video as proof but I was involved in a small animal emergency rescue.

For the sake of reputation, we are fortunate there were no human witnesses to our madness. Zena was snarling and viciously barking at poor Pinky, holed up in her safe house. If rabbits are frightened by human shrieking sounds, then I also contributed to her terror.

How did we spend the rest of the day? And by “we,” I really don’t mean me.

Jay patiently took the cage apart,–again, relocating it back to the front yard while also creating a solid surface bottom–oh never mind! Just reverse all the previous actions!

We have compromised and added to our nightly routine. We already check on Darwin and make sure he’s safe, monitor Zena’s many routines and generally just make sure all animals are secure.

Now we’ll transfer Pinky to a portable night cage and secure her that way. What we get ourselves into!

Although animal and home garden routines have been a little bit “much” this week, I still managed to make my weekly pilgrimage to the Huntington Botanical Gardens. I’ll share more from the Japanese Gardens soon.

And we did have some rain this week. It didn’t linger, but my garden enjoyed a lovely and very needed bath. And without the softened earth I seriously doubt we’d have seen the coyote tracks in the rose garden.

I hope this next week provides just a little less backyard wildlife excitement.

I prefer observation to participation!