Unusual noise outside this morning before sunrise. Opened the bedroom window and shouted in my best crazy old hermit's voice that if whoever was out there didn't leave immediately I would start shooting. Silence was the only response. So I closed the window and dozed back off for another hour.
Checking the area the noise seemed to come from, I found a pinch of rabbit fur and a small trench in the dirt where the rabbit had apparently scraped the ground with a foot. No other sign of struggle and no blood.
The rabbit has been hanging around close to the house for about a year now and had grown accustomed to my non-threatening presence. Being a crazy old hermit, I spoke to it each time it was out in the open when I went outside. I had grown fond of seeing it survive a pretty hard winter as it fattened up somehow anyway.
A bobcat has been prowling around the house for a couple of years. I imagine it finally snagged the rabbit and hauled it off somewhere private to chow down. I hope not, though. I'm rooting for the friendly rabbit.