Where are the predators?

mosswitchMarch 28, 2012

For the first time in my memory living in this area, we are overrun by rabbits and voles. I'm not seeing many owls and hawks this year, I am wondering if the tornado last May in Joplin played a major part in it. I know there was a tremendous loss of habitat with more than a third of Joplin's trees gone, but I also wonder if the nesting season was also majorly disrupted, nests destroyed and birds killed. My husband suggested also that perhaps the rabbits were driven into undamaged areas where there is still habitat. There is definitely a serious imbalance of predators and prey here.

Not only that, I am seeing less songbirds. No mockingbirds at all, and we usually have at least two pair.

And my emerging hostas are getting eaten. Grrr! Tomorrow there will be a trip to Lowe's for the Repellex I saw there last fall!

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leafwatcher(zone 5)

We are starting to get quite a few Bald Eagles around here.. and we have had many hawks for quite awhile.. I see very few rabbits anymore out at my Moms farm.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 11:16PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I don't know about the rabbits, but vole populations are cyclical. Some years you are overrun and some years there are only a few. Voles typically have a territory of only about a quarter of an acre, so they're probably not from Joplin. Bunnies may be different. Voles are also a main source of predator food, so you are right that there may be an imbalance. Go get em.

Steve

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 6:57AM
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mosswitch

One of the local predators showed up today, probably the biggest black snake I've ever seen; about 5' long and almost as big around as my wrist. Coal black, shiny and laid all the way across the path with no intention of moving for little old me, until I nudged it with my foot. Then it meandered off on its own sweet time into the brush pile, where I assume it lives. Go Blackie! Get them voles!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:58PM
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