We live in the suburbs, in a development. Our yard is filled with brush, and brush piles, and is a haven for smaller wildlife. Faye said she saw the bobcat lying in front of where a tree had been knocked down by a storm, and thought that must be its lair. Mom looked bobcats up in the encyclopedia, then wanted to see more pictures online. We found out that they have a range of five or six miles. They eat rabbits, squirrels, gophers, mice, rats, and even fawns. We have lots of rabbits and squirrels and deer, and, also unfortunately, our share of mice.
I was thrilled to hear that we had a natural predator for the out-of-control herbivorous wildlife. Faye said that if they had kittens, they'd get aggressive. We saw bobcat kitten pictures online. They are adorable. We also saw a picture of a man who'd been attacked by a twenty-five pound bobcat when he was on his back porch. That was in Florida, though. They have alligators in the back yards there.
Bobcats are supposed to be mostly shy of people, and more for the woods than that close in the suburbs. Then again, deer used to be shy of people, too. I said to Mom that maybe we'd get coyotes, as they're spreading farther east, and are apparently adapting very well to the suburbs. She didn't seem happy about that speculation, either. A bobcat would get fat pickings among its natural food sources here.
I've seen a couple of hawks in the neighborhood. One -- possibly a sharp-shinned hawk -- it was just a little hawk -- swooped down to kill a bird at the birdfeeder, when I was regularly putting seed out. The other little birds were outraged, and kept zooming around the hawk. He or she held onto its prey in its talons, on the ground. I guess it managed to take off eventually. We saw a much bigger one once, harried by the mob of crows that lives in the neighborhood. It stopped to rest on our roof, and we could see it had jesses on. Crows will chase hawks and owls out of their territory, and we've got dozens of crows. I don't mind the crows, though a lot of people don't like them. It would be cool if we had some of the bigger hawks in the neighborhood, though. That would keep the rabbit population down.
We could use some weasels and fishers (Mustelidae) around, too. That would also keep the rabbits in check, while the weasels wouldn't be dangerous to humans. If it was up to me, I think I'd like to have the bobcat around, at least until it could get the rabbit population down and scare off the deer. I never imagined natural predators would come back to keep the herbivore population under control.