The following is an article printed in our Winter/Spring 2010 Newsletter:
Bobcat Sightings Requested
The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a small to medium sized feline native to much of the North American continent. It is currently the only confirmed resident wild feline in New York. Other felines with suspected transient or non-breeding populations in the state are cougars and Canadian lynx.
The average size of a bobcat is generally described to be twice that of a normal house cat. Average weight of individuals is 20 and 26 pounds for females and males, respectively. The fur is dense, short, and spotted, generally appearing reddish in the summer and grayish in the winter. They are usually solitary with exceptions during the breeding season and when females are rearing young.
Critical habitat features include places for refuge and protection, which may include rock ledges, rock piles, brush piles, and hollow trees and logs. Evergreen bogs, swamps, and other secluded places fulfill many of the critical habitat elements needed for survival. These habitats also provide access to prey species like mice, voles, squirrels, rabbits, birds, and deer (especially in winter) which make up a large portion of their diet in our state.
Over the last 4 years, the Westmoreland staff has been recording area bobcat sightings. Many of the recorded sightings are personal accounts described to the staff by phone, email, or in person by area residents. Additional sightings have been added to our small, but growing, database from other accounts submitted to local news sources and other conservation organizations.
The first recorded account came to us in October 2005 from a family living just south of the sanctuary. A few months later, in February 2006, Westmoreland staff members photographed and followed a clear set of bobcat tracks in the snow in the southern portion of the sanctuary around Cole Kettle. The following May, Westmoreland’s naturalist, Adam Zorn, saw a single bobcat in front of the Naturalist’s Cottage and near the graveyard by the sanctuary’s Chestnut Ridge Road entrance.
After a year of no recorded sightings in 2007, 2 more reports came to us in December 2008. A total of 7 reports were recorded in 2009, the most recent one (pictured below) from a family on Sarles St. in Armonk on December 14, 2009.
Click here for a map that indicates the 13 total sightings recorded since 2005.
The presence of these elusive felines is of great interest to the sanctuary staff. Please contact us regarding bobcat sightings from anywhere in northern Westchester County. We are especially interested in sightings from anyone living in the mapped area. With the wealth of open space and potential habitat in the Towns of North Castle and Bedford, we would like to fill in this map with additional sightings from area residents. Please send sightings with pictures/descriptions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at (914)666-8448.
-Adam Zorn, Naturalist