Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 33 comments

Several times in the Copperfield subdivision of Calgary where we stayed with our gracious hosts on and off during the trip, I spotted a jackrabbit hanging around the neighborhood, as in this photograph from August 27th. My guess is that it was a white-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii). Of course the sightings might have been of different white-tailed jackrabbits, given that I couldn’t tell one individual from another.

UPDATE: I’ve learned that members of the genus Lepus are actually hares rather than rabbits. Here’s what H.L. Mencken wrote in The American Language: Zoologically speaking, there are no native rabbits in the United States; they are all hares. But the early colonists, for some unknown reason, dropped the word hare out of their vocabulary, and it is rarely heard in American speech to this day. When it appears it is almost always applied to the so-called Belgian hare, which, curiously enough, is not a hare at all, but a true rabbit.”

You’re welcome to read much more about hares.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 28, 2017 at 4:47 AM

33 Responses

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  1. Very handsome.


    October 28, 2017 at 5:17 AM

  2. He looks like a sprinter at the starting blocks. Everything — eye, ears, tail, feet — suggests he’s ready to spring in a flash. With his body stretched like that, it creates a pleasing diagonal, too. Nice photo.


    October 28, 2017 at 8:08 AM

    • This was another instance where the long lens came in handy. I see it was zoomed to 330mm for this portrait. You’ve read the body language correctly: several of my attempts to get close to the jackrabbit caused it to bound off. I remember following it around the corner, but then some oncoming kids on bikes scared it out of my range altogether.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2017 at 9:01 AM

  3. This in Douglas, Wyoming… https://photos.app.goo.gl/P2UEYbkwfUf2IX5w1

    Jim R

    October 28, 2017 at 8:32 AM

  4. I agree, very handsome. I know they live in Utah, too, but I’ve never seen one in the wild. When we’re chasing anybody from this family our of our garden, we don’t say “rabbit,” “jackrabbit,” or “hare,” we yell “Hasenpfeffer!”

    Robert Parker

    October 28, 2017 at 9:17 AM

  5. Although I do sometimes see it used as a verb. When I was a child my family visited relatives living in Arizona and I saw jack rabbits haring off into the distance. They weren’t living in the luxurious surrounding this fellow is!


    October 28, 2017 at 10:11 AM

    • I’ve never heard the expression “to hare off.” I checked onelook.com just now and found hare [off] in some dictionaries but not others. Two of the ones that included the verb marked the usage as British.

      You raised an interesting question about the luxurious surroundings. I wonder whether rabbits find more to eat in a subdivision, presumably because of what people plant in their yards, than in the wild.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2017 at 10:42 AM

      • I would imagine they do, and may well become a problem as the Canada Goose has here.
        Come to think of it, I do read a lot of British fiction.


        October 29, 2017 at 10:50 AM

        • In Austin, the problem is deer. Many people plant deer-resistant plants in their front yards and save the more delicate plants for their fenced back yards.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 29, 2017 at 10:53 AM

  6. That is a very handsome feller, and its tail does indeed look like a deer’s… the eyes are very striking – great capture – and a very humane one!

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    October 28, 2017 at 9:16 PM

    • Good point: the tail does remind me of a white-tailed deer’s. I wanted to get closer to zoom in on the head, but the rabbit didn’t stay put as I approached.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2017 at 9:58 PM

  7. What a great photograph! It is rare to find one that sits at all. I see a lot of cottontails around here, but last summer while hiking in an area of the nearby Washita river, I came upon something like a cottontail, but larger, yet it did not look like a jackrabbit. On visiting with an old timer in the area, he felt it could be a swamp rabbit, which I’d never heard of. He said they used to be very prolific along the river, but he had not seen one in decades. I wish I had been able to get a photo, but the critter was quite elusive. I hope I see one again sometime when I’m hiking in that area, and I hope I can manage a photograph!


    October 29, 2017 at 9:19 PM

    • I’ve never heard of a swamp rabbit, but there’s plenty of information about the species at


      Let’s hope you get a picture of one. From what you say, development seems to have reduced their numbers in your area.

      As for the jackrabbit, on another occasion I photographed one (maybe the same one) sitting, but the picture showed a sidewalk. I preferred showing this photograph; it does include part of a lawn, but that’s not so obviously a human creation.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2017 at 9:34 PM

  8. Great capture. These hares are not easy to photograph since they tend to be shy and are VERY fast runners.


    October 29, 2017 at 10:03 PM

    • I witnessed that fast running. If I remember correctly, when I tried to move a little more to the right for a better angle, this jackrabbit took off. In central Texas, there have been plenty of times when a smaller rabbit dashed out of the underbrush when I’ve gotten too close.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2017 at 10:15 PM

  9. Terrific photo, and what a nice pose!


    October 30, 2017 at 10:44 PM

    • And what a stealthy photographer I had to be to record that pose.

      It looks like parts of Montana are within the range of this species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 30, 2017 at 10:48 PM

  10. A very handsome jackrabbit! We have young bunnies enjoying our backyard … hmmm


    October 31, 2017 at 2:09 PM

  11. […] 2: Do you remember the jackrabbit I photographed in Calgary on August 27th? After posting, I learned a good deal about that kind of rabbit, so I […]

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