March 16, 2016
A trail camera set up at the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy’s Audubon Woods Preserve, about eight miles west of Mount Pleasant, recently captured a series of rare daylight photos of a bobcat.
Conservancy Executive Director Stan Lilley said the wild cats are nocturnal, shy and tend to avoid humans, so it’s unusual to spot them during the day.
“I really suspect that bobcats are a lot more common than most people think they are,” Lilley said. “Just the fact that this thing showed up on the game cam in broad daylight, that was the rarity of it.”
Bobcats are smaller than cougars but larger than domestic cats, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Their bodies range from 2 to 3.5 feet long, their tails are about 6 inches long, and they weigh up to 40 pounds. Their coloration is similar to that of cougars, with black coloring on the end of the tail and tips of the ears. Their ears are pointed with small tufts of fur, and the young have spots.
By comparison, cougars’ are up to 6 feet long, their tails up to 3.5 feet and they weigh 75 to 180 pounds.
“It’s a very special thing to have a bobcat sighting,” said Bruce Barlow, a biologist at the DNR’s Gladwin Field Office, who has seen a bobcat in the wild four or five times.
Barlow said the cat likely was hunting.
“This time a year, especially, you will see a bobcat out periodically during the daytime, and the number one reason for that is they’re trying to feed their family,” he said. “They’ve got young somewhere and they’re trying to provide food for them.”
The Chippewa Watershed Conservancy operates in Isabella, Clare, Gratiot, Montcalm and Mecosta counties and owns 19 preserves.
“This is the third preserve that we’ve documented bobcats on since last fall with our game cams,” Lilley said.
He said the conservancy’s trail cameras also have captured images of deer, racoons, squirrels, owls and more.
“You just never know what’s going to show up at any particular time,” Lilley said.
Barlow said the bobcat population in mid-Michigan seems to be stable, but it’s impossible to know exactly how many there are.
DNR officials encourage members of the public to report bobcat sightings.
For the full article (with pictures), see Heather Jordan, “Rare daytime photos of Michigan bobcat caught on trail camera“, MLive, March 30, 2016.