Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bobcats in Westchester

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.
Bobcat photographed in an Armonk, NY resident's backyard in Dec 2009 (Photo credit/L.Ilany)

Bobcat photographed in an Armonk, NY resident's backyard in Dec 2009 (Photo credit/L.Ilany)

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 westsanc@optonline.net or call our office at (914)666-8448.

-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

18 comments:

Tj Deacon said...

Wow! That's really interesting. If you find out about any more sightings and ever get more photos I'd love to see them.

Westmoreland Sanctuary said...

@TJ...We will certainly post any more photos and information we get from area residents. Glad you're excited about the bobcats in Westchester.

Ice said...

I have seen a bobcat on two different occasions this year.

Both sightings were very early in the morning (2 a.m.-ish) off of Route 9 near the border of Briarcliff/Sleepy Hollow.

The first sighting came on March 13. Traveling northbound, I spotted the bobcat on the right side of the road adjacent to the New York Life corporate offices.

The second sighting came roughly two months later on May 15. Once again, I was traveling northbound on Route 9. I spotted the bobcat on the right side of the road about 200 yards shy of the Route 117 junction.

I don't know if this helps your research any, but I figured it was worth sharing.

Anonymous said...

We saw a bobcat on 2 occasions on our property on wood street in somers, in December 2010 and in June 2011. Yesterday he was about 50 yards away on the edge of our wetlands, sitting in the weeds. We didn't know he was there until our dog barked like crazy and then it moved. He then went into the weeds.

Westmoreland Sanctuary said...

@Ice: I have included you sightings in our map. Thank you for sharing your observations.

@Anonymous: I have included your most recent sighting in our map. Thanks for sharing your observation. If you look at the map, there are 2 previous sightings of bobcat from other residents on Wood St. The surrounding area (Muscoot, Lasdon, and reservoirs) likely provide sufficient habitat to keep them in the area.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, around 11:50 PM, we were heading northeast on Lake St in West Harrison/Purchase, almost at the spot where Lake St crosses over 684 and becomes route 120, and saw a feline looking animal, semi low to the ground, a little chubby, with a truncated tail crossing the road in our headlights. In the glare of the lights, the fur looked to be almost golden or grayish. We knew it was definitely not a deer, but maybe a coyote and much too big to be a fox. I recalled that it was feline looking, and my wife recalled the truncated tail. When we got home, we did some research and feel that it might have been a bobcat. There is a lot of open space and woodlands surrounding the Kensico Reservoir, Rye Lake and the airport, so maybe it is possible. It is only a short hike through some heavily wooded areas down from Armonk.

Westmoreland Sanctuary said...

@Anonymous: Thank you for your reported sighting. There really isn't anything else in the area that resembles a feline with a "truncated tail". The map of our sightings also show other sightings in the same vicinity around Kensico Reservoir and the airport. There certainly is enough open space and available habitat in that area of Westchester.

Anonymous said...

Just saw a large bobcat on Old Roaring Brook Road in Chappaqua 6pm Jan 16th 2012. It bolted across the road in front of my car.

Westmoreland Sanctuary said...

@Anonymous: Can you be more specific about where on Old Roaring Brook Road you saw the bobcat cross the road? The nearest intersection of Old Roaring Brook and ? would be sufficient to pin an approximate location on our map. Thank you.

Diane said...

I'm writing to you, because I believe I saw a bobcat on Saturday, February 11, 2012.

It was about 8:00 in the morning and it bolted and sprinted out from under my back deck, ran across the back lawn to the right and jumped over about a five foot wood pile. He/she looked to be two feet long and was a grayish color. I did notice the tufted/pointed ears and, because it snowed that morning the prints looked about 2" to 2-1/2" wide. Of course I didn't take any photos as I had to get to class. It definitely was NOT a pet cat of someones.

I live in Mohegan Lake, NY in Westchester County.

Let me know what you think and if any others have been spotted.

Westmoreland Sanctuary said...

Diane its definitely possible that you saw a bobcat, though its hard to say from your description. The most important characteristic most people notice is the short, "bobbed" tail of the bobcat.

Take a look at some of the photos we recently posted on the home page of this blog and let us know if they look similar to the cat you saw. You can contact us directly at westsanc(at)optonline.net

Diane said...

The tail wasn't bobbed. It was more or less like half a cat tail. Does this help?

I have my camera ready if there's a next time.

Nyarch said...

This morning around 10 I saw what appeared to be a very large cat crossing Spring street in South Salem near the police barracks.
I actually went in to report the sighting but the officer did not seem concerned. Based on others descriptions I would say that this animal was at least 3 or 4 times the size of a domestic house cat.

Westmoreland Sanctuary said...

@Nyarch - you may have seen a bobcat based on the size description given. There are other sightings from nearby that area on our sightings map. If you have additional sightings, questions, etc, don't hesitate to contact us by email at westsanc(at)optonline.net

Chris said...

We saw a bobcat around 8:30 last night (October 1, 2015) on Long Ridge Road in Bedford about one mile south of the intersection of Rte. 172. There was no mistaking it. It bounded across the road right in front of our headlights.

Anonymous said...

May have seen a bobcat on 121 near Todd Road in the Town on Lewisboro around 5:45 am Saturday morning. I've never seen this animal before in the area. Not a cat.

Unknown said...

Two friends and me saw two bobcats - one big and one about half that size on the SUNY Purchase campus, yesterday morning (11-8-15) at approximately 7:00 a.m. We saw them about a quarter of a mile from the main entrance to the campus (after entering bear left, as the road starts to go right, before the buildings they crossed the road in front of us). Both were grey with spots, bobbed tails etc... I'm assuming that the larger was the mother and the smaller her cub but who knows.

Anonymous said...

I saw a bobcat on my backyard in Millwood, Taconic Road, at 7:15pm on August 21, 2017.