Black-tailed Jackrabbit – A Hare nervous?

Black-tailed JackrabbitBlack-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) #1 – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm with 1.4x TC at 280mm, natural light, not baited

A few days ago Ron and I were photographing Black-billed Magpies when I noticed a Black-tailed Jackrabbit come out from behind the base of a sagebrush. The light wasn’t all that good for photographing mostly black and white birds so when I saw the hare I aimed my lens at it. I am just a plain ole bird photographer who doesn’t often pass up the chance to photograph furry critters either.  And I do love the jackrabbits.

Black-tailed JackrabbitBlack-tailed Jackrabbit #2 – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

I had only taken two frames when a Black-billed Magpie  flew in low from my right and landed, then hopped across my field of  view in front of the jackrabbit then out of my sight.  I sure wish I had been using more depth of field, I might have gotten both the bird and the hare in focus!

It only took tenths of a second for the magpie to be out to the frame but then I noticed the jackrabbit acting a little strange.

Black-tailed JackrabbitBlack-tailed Jackrabbit #3 – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The jackrabbit raised itself up on all four legs so I expected it to bound away while I kept on taking frame after frame hoping  to get a shot of the hare leaping forward. At this point the jackrabbit was looking towards our mobile blind (a pickup) and not in the direction the magpie had gone.

I was drawn to the jackrabbit’s strange posture and behavior and slowed down my burst rate because it is just plain awful when great action happens when you buffer is filled up!

Black-tailed JackrabbitBlack-tailed Jackrabbit #4 – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited 

The Black-tailed Jackrabbit arched its back while still keeping an eye on us and I thought the arched back looked very similar to a domestic cat when it gets riled up or frightened about something. I half expected the hare to hiss at us.  Still, I kept firing the shutter button slowly, not want to miss a great shot.

Black-tailed JackrabbitBlack-tailed Jackrabbit #5 – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited 

After a few seconds the jackrabbit seemed to relax, it lowered its back some and the back legs seemed to return to a more normal position. The only noises close by were the sounds of mine and Ron’s cameras clicking away.

Black-tailed JackrabbitBlack-tailed Jackrabbit #6 – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 280mm, natural light, not baited

Eventually the hare rested on its back haunches in a completely relaxed pose, the only thing the jackrabbit was moving was its ears and twitching whiskers.

Black-tailed JackrabbitBlack-tailed Jackrabbit #7 – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 280mm, natural light, not baited 

Was it a defensive posture, or was the jackrabbit just stretching? I am still not sure why the jackrabbit reacted the way it did, I don’t believe the Black-billed Magpie would be considered a threat by the rabbit. We’d been sitting quietly in the truck for quite some time quietly photographing the birds so I would not think our presence had bothered the hare but the seemingly nervous reaction and behavior of it was interesting and I’m glad I was there to see what occurred.

The jackrabbit bent its head down and nibbled on its foot then about the time my buffer filled up the hare leapt away from my sight and I missed the shot!

Mia

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3 comments to Black-tailed Jackrabbit – A Hare nervous?

  • He looks so cute! and that scared cat pose is just the best!!! Looks like you got the shot to me! DO you guys shoot in the cab of the truck and out of each window or in the bed of the truck? My luck would be the good stuff would always be on the other side of the vehicle!

    • Hi Garen! We shoot from inside the cab of the truck, the birds & critters seems less alarmed when we do. Tried shooting from the bed of the pickup once (can’t recall what birds there were) and that didn’t work out well. I can shoot out both sides of the truck because I am in the back, I came up with an idea to create a lens rest for the console of the front of the pickup that steadies the lens for Ron to shoot from both sides too but we always try to get lined up with the subject on the driver’s side of the pickup if possible.

  • Very cool! Never seen a jackrabbit in that pose – does look like a cat!

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