Brown Hare: The Show Of The Mating Season

What would your ultimate British wildlife experience be? The experts at The Wildlife Trusts have just published their own shortlist, with tips on how to enjoy each seasonal spectacle – and boxing hares feature prominently. In fact this pugilistic performance can be seen throughout the brown hare breeding season, from February to September – the fisticuffs and flying fur have simply become associated with March because large numbers of female hares are receptive at much the same time, and grasses and crops tend to be shorter, giving a better view.

In a field in Norfolk, a female brown hare wards off a male’s aggressive advances
In a field in Norfolk, a female brown hare wards off a male’s aggressive advances

The sparring involves females, or does, fending off over-attentive males, or bucks. In ideal habitat you may see big groups -at this time, most will be bucks attracted to a few does in breeding condition. Today, key brown hare strongholds in Britain include the Yorkshire Wolds, Forest of Bowland, Yorkshire and Derbyshire Dales and East Anglia, while islands can also be good, from Islay in the Hebrides to Anglesey and Suffolk’s Havergate.

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