If you've ever wondered where my avatar (with the desert cottontail bunny-rabbit) came from:
It was one of our yard bunnies. I put out small amounts of food for the wild critters -- not enough for them to live on so they're not dependent on us -- and I take pictures of them. Bunnies, Gambels quail, roadrunners, coyotes (I don't put food out for them, but feeding prey indirectly feeds the predators), hawks, whatever. I use these photos as reference material to paint critters, almost always in a different, more dramatic context.
Look carefully at the attached image, and you'll see my avatar bunny near the bottom, right of center in a large (48" x 60"/1.2m x 1.5m) painting of the southern California desert in the Palm Springs area.