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Wild Kingdom
updated: Dec 10, 2012, 5:18 PM

By Steve McGovern

I was out on my deck, watching the sunset, reading a book. Next moment, the place turned into the wild kingdom. First, came the Kestrel, who, I think, may be nesting in the tree about thirty yards from my back door. S/he had something in her talons, and it looked to me like she may well have been feeding offspring. Is this the season for that? Have to Google it.

The Kestrel left, and no more than a minute later, I looked to my right and saw the bobcat. She was just standing there, about 50 yards away, looking at me. Her tail was sticking straight up, and waving back and forth in a jerky motion. I'll have to look that up in Google too, because I've seen bobcats a few times, but their tails were always flat against their rear ends. On the other hand, I'm sure somebody in Ed's universe will be able to tell me in great detail what any of that meant.

It seems to me bobcats are getting as plentiful as coyotes, but in smaller herds. This is my fifth or sixth sighting in the past couple months, and though it's probably the same one each time, I've been seeing more and more stories about them on the web. We had a saying in the Marine Corps, years ago: "You'd rather sandpaper a bobcat's ass in a telephone booth than mess with me." I don't know. This kitty looks formidable.

Anyway, got pictures. Here are a few.

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 352492 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:31 PM

Wow. They are both beautiful, but holy cow, that cat is gorgeous!


 COMMENT 352494P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:33 PM

Great story, great photos of your new friends, and I LOVE the quote!
Are there any phone booths left in Santa Barbara?


 COMMENT 352497 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:41 PM

You clearly live in an area that's ideally suited for these creatures. How lucky for you - and them. I have a bobcat that comes looking for rabbits in my backyard now and again but it doesn't look nearly as healthy as yours do.... one of my neighbours must be using some nasty pesticides. :(


 COMMENT 352501 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:54 PM

Lucky you! Beautiful neighbors you have, thanks for sharing. Need a roommate?


 COMMENT 352502P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:55 PM

Spectacular! Thanks for sharing.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 06:04 PM

Wow, I'm coming over tomorrow!


 COMMENT 352507 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 06:08 PM

We were golfing at Sandpiper on Friday, when on the 11th hole, by the beach, we saw an animal bounding up the fairway....for a moment we thought it was a dog, but as we watched, it was a very large bobcat....we think it had been hunting the birds in the lagoon area there!! In a flash it was off into the bushes....guess I won't go looking for my ball there!!!


 COMMENT 352528 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 06:47 PM

Gorgeous Bobcat...wow! <3


 COMMENT 352546 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 07:18 PM

Darn, I thought I would be the first one offering to move in! Gorgeous pics, thanks for sharing :)


 COMMENT 352552 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 07:40 PM

So Dad (Steve), it seems that now may be a good time to put the "For Rent" sign up on the house! :) Beautiful pics of our neighborhood kitty!


 COMMENT 352554P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 07:45 PM

Bobcat messages:
Tail down. "I'd better protect myself. "
Tail up and twitching. "You'd better watch out. This is my territory."


 COMMENT 352581 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 08:47 PM

I agree with 554 and cats don't normally walk with one leg in the air, so I'm guessing since he is looking at the camera with one leg in the air, he is marking his territory. Unless of course he stepped on something that made him lift that leg.


 COMMENT 352582P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 08:52 PM

SB was like this before too many people moved there.
Ventura is like SB was 10-20 years ago.


 COMMENT 352586P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 09:19 PM

I live next to the Honda Valley/Thornbury Park preserve on the upper Mesa, and I saw a different bobcat (fewer stripes and spots) a week ago. Maybe they spread out to find new territories this time of year.


 COMMENT 352593 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 11:54 PM

586 gave you a great tip: check the pattern on the 'cat's coat, and then you'll be better able to tell if you're seeing the same one or different ones at different times.

My first thought, upon reading the "tail up" description is that it is a male bobcat, marking his territory. Don't think the females do that, but am off now to look that up.

So many sightings for you. I'm so jealous, I could cry . . . but I won't.


 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 02:40 AM

Thanks lots for sharing, loved the story and pics! You (and us) are lucky to live where you do and get to see this, live or by photo.


 COMMENT 352620 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 06:23 AM

thank you on today of all days


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 06:37 AM

Wow thank you for the beautiful pictures.


 COMMENT 352636 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 06:47 AM

Bobcats are awesome. I see one riding my bike on San Marcos road occasionally, and have gotten as close as I'd say 10 feet. It just stood there at the edge of the road and we exchanged glances as I passed. The fact that they are as stocky as they are is definitely a bit disconcerting, considering how much damaged a domesticated cat can do if it pleases. Definitely wouldn't want to get into it with a bobcat.


 COMMENT 352637 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 07:03 AM

I'm with MTNDRIVER, when can I come over?! Spectacular shots, how lucky for you!! Thanks for posting, isn't nature just awesome?


 COMMENT 352649 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 07:19 AM

Thank you for sharing! I feel my day is already under a beautiful start! Nature is awesome, how lucky we are to be living in a place where we are confronted with it every day in one shape or another.


 COMMENT 352682 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:10 AM

Steve, how fortunate you are to have observed these fascinating creatures at such close range and how lucky we are that you were prepared with camera at the ready. The one time I saw a bobcat at such a close range I did not, of course, have a camera with me--in fact, it seems when I am prepared for that one great, magnificent shot, there are no creatures in sight. Thank you for sharing this moment with us.


 COMMENT 352690 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:26 AM

Looks more like a female bobcat. Lighter coloring and smaller rear haunches than the typical male. Also when a cat (most cats of different breeds) are hunting and spot something of interest the tail often, not only goes up, but swishes back and forth. (unlike dogs who's tail wagging is a sign of friendliness the cat with waving tail is in business mode) When a decision is made to actually stalk prey, the tail often becomes still as the cat wants to be motionless to it's potential prey and it often goes into a crouch to lower it's profile and be prepared to "pounce".


 BONNER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 10:30 AM

I had a juvenile bobcat appear in my backyard (6' fencing all around) about 6 weeks ago and couldn't believe it was coming up the steps from my small farm section to backyard and toward my office where I have a sliding glass door so my view was unobstructed. My elderly dog didn't even wake up but as I went to reach for my camera the cat sensed my movement (10 yds away) inside and did an about turn. I quickly followed to see where it entered and before I could get closer it leapt over the 6' fence as if it were 1 foot. I've always locked up the hens by dusk as I live near nature but this is first time one came into the yard, seen a handful nearby in open space, they're so beautiful.
Beautiful photos, we're lucky to live near open space.


 COMMENT 352820 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 12:13 PM

BTW, just came back and read your entire post...love the euphemism...that's going on my list! My Dad has some doozies, but I've never heard that one before!


 COMMENT 352843 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 12:51 PM

BTW if you ever get a desire to sandpaper that bobcat's ass, the red phone booth is still in the La Arcada and there's another one in the Court House- let us know when you plan on doing it as I would pay good money to see it!


 COMMENT 353052 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 07:19 PM

Beautiful pictures! What part of town are you in? Just moved here so I apologize if I should know this . . .


 COMMENT 353079P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:12 PM

OP (Steve) here. First, thanks for all the nice things about the photos. I don't need a roommate. I'm not looking for phone booths (though if I were, I would definitely choose the one in the courthouse). 052... wouldn't expect you to know what part of town this is, even if you weren't new here. And I'm not telling. I don't want anybody to come over because the bobcat wouldn't like crowds (I saw her again tonight, by the way). My house is already rented, and I agree we live in a great place. And finally, it's nice to see a discussion without a single mean thing said.


 COMMENT 353094 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:43 PM

Really beautiful photos. I love Santa Barbara. You wouldn't see these guys in a big city!


 COMMENT 353527P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-12 11:18 PM

Every body except me has seen the local Bob Cats and their new families. I use to have chickens but gave them away because they attracted Rats. I would much rather have a Bob Cat clean them out. The Bob cats which live in our neighborhood which I have not seen supposedly have their families (2) near Via Huerto and Puente Drive. Forgive me for sharing that information neighbors. I hope the information does not attract a crowd.


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