Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Cuckoos 1; rabbits 1

Up and out by 5am on a May morning. It’s good to have some company to share the secret time. After some early May frosts, it’s 18 degrees and there’s a red fringe to the cloud cover in the east; no mention of concerned shepherds though.

Martin’s keen to add some rabbit meat to his diet and as the population has expanded alarmingly this spring I’m very keen to encourage his enthusiasm for wild food. Although there was some ferreting done during the winter and another Gravenhurster has recently started shooting in one of our fields, any additional rabbits we can remove will be a great benefit to our suffering grassland. We are using cage traps baited with carrot and unbaited pit-falls set up in a netted fence line.

This morning a cuckoo shadowed us, keeping its distance, flying hawk-like between hedgerow tree tops; it’s call an alarm to those rabbits tempted to stray into our traps. Eight traps caught only one rabbit, so perhaps cuckoo and rabbit are working together. In return for this service, do rabbits communicate the secret location, deep in the hedge, of dunnock nests to cuckoos? Perhaps not.

Martin took one rabbit home. Hope he hasn’t invited lots of people to dinner.

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