A Coyote in a Tree: Coyote behavior

I saw a coyote in a tree — in a pine tree. I have photos to prove it. Granted, the very large pine tree had fallen over years ago — but this doesn’t change the fact. The coyote remained in the tree for about 20 minutes, six feet up in the air, mostly engaged in a barking session. It had been chased by a dog.

When I first noticed this coyote, barely discernible in the distance, it was resting peacefully close to a creek where it kept its eye on a man who was far in the distance fixing a trail. The coyote also kept its eyes on dogs which were much closer than the man — they were on a path across a narrow creek. Few if any of the dogs and owners noticed the coyote. The coyote sat up sometimes, curled up sometimes, groomed itself, and seemed to fall off to sleep at times when it put its head down. It kept its ears constantly moving —  they serve as its “antennae” — picking up every clue of activity in the vicinity.

THEN the balance was upset. Up raced a dog which had seen the coyote, and the coyote was off in a flash. The dog was called by its owner and did not pursue the coyote.  But the coyote was upset — coyotes do not like to be chased, and they don’t like to be intruded upon. The coyote began a long, distressed barking session. I followed the sound and found the coyote — in a tree!! Not on the tree, but within the branches. And it was not really “out on a limb” — it had chosen the sturdy trunk to lift itself up high for a better view of any others that also might be pursuing it. It turned out that there were no more pursuers, but it howled away its distress for a full 20 minutes. A fellow and dog came up. We marveled at the show — urban and wild. It was a magical moment to share with someone. After about twenty minutes of barking, the coyote must have felt it was safe after all, and it calmed down: no one else was around. The coyote slowly and easily then walked up to a bluff, in the sun, where it relaxed for about half an hour before getting up.

I then watched it calmly walk about for the next fifteen minutes — until it saw two people — no dog. Obviously the coyote had had enough intrusions for the day, because at this point it hurried around them and down a path where it ducked into the brush and I lost it. I had watched the coyote for about three hours: from resting and watching and grooming, to being chased by a dog and fleeing, to a barking session, to relaxing and watching again, to meandering, and finally to fleeing from people. The coyote in the tree was the best part.

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