Ups and Downs of Hunting

Hunting has its ups and downs. This coyote slowly and carefully approached her target — a gopher hole — gingerly extending an arm in the hole’s direction. Ahhhh, the timing looked right — she obviously heard or smelled what she wanted in the hole.  So up she jumped in a beautifully executed n-curved dive, which landed exactly on target: nose into the ground and feet flying high!

But I can’t tell if the coyote hurt her nose or if the gopher bit her — notice her expression after the dive in the center photo. She then attempted to reach for the gopher, but after she stuck her nose in the hole this time, she suddenly trotted off a short distance where she stood just looking at the gopher hole. Did the gopher bite her again? She did not leave with a gopher, and she did not approach this gopher hole again. Hmmm.

No Wiggly Squiggles For Me, by Charles Wood

Mister runs

Monday my leashed dog Holtz and I went into my Los Angeles area coyotes’ field.  A man headed toward the east end of the field with his dinner.  He asked me if the coyotes were still coming in there.  I said they do and that I had seen some last night.  He walked on in and I got settled.  Mister and one of his siblings soon came north towards me.  Mister wasn’t happy and immediately ran towards me.  My friend Lynne and her dog were watching from the bridge.  It unsettles me to see one of my coyotes running towards Holtz and me.  I know they are going to stop short, yet I still feel a little like turning and running.  I wonder if an intruder coyote would turn and run upon seeing Mister’s territorial display.  Mister stopped short, as they all have in the past, and delivered a message.  He hovered over it for a long while and I had thought he was heaping on a lot more.  He wasn’t.  Although his eyes were on my friend, his ears were on Holtz and me, which I think was an interesting choice.

It is hard for me to reconcile Mister’s warning behavior with his rendezvous joy.  Is this tough guy the same coyote that wiggly squiggles with his mom and dad?  He is tough with me.  After giving us his message he ran back south some.  Then he started barking and yipping, doing so until I left.  Meanwhile his companion was hidden.

When I disturb a pair, one typically warns while the other either hides or backs off a bit.  I don’t think the one that doesn’t warn lacks courage.  I think it waits as a reserve force.  I think so because when meeting paired Mom and Dad, they trade off as to who warns and who holds back.  Whether Mom or Dad, the one who warns is probably the one who feels the most irritated by me that day.

Mister dumps

A few years ago I ran into a fellow in a wetlands area.  He told me he had once been surrounded there by eight provocative coyotes near where we were standing.  Feeling uneasy, I asked him what he did to get out of that situation.  He said he picked up some rocks.  I looked around and didn’t see any rocks handy.  I asked him where he got the rocks.  His girlfriend’s jaw dropped, her eyes bugged out and she stepped back.  The fellow’s answer was embarrassed and vague.  I didn’t believe his story.  In fact, in that same general area, I once did happen upon a number of coyotes (I didn’t count them).  One came forward to bark and yip while several waited to its rear.  It was easy to walk away with leashed Holtz and none of the coyotes followed.

I’m not sure who Mister teamed with Monday, its photograph was unclear.  Yet it seemed to have Mister’s lower lip black bubble, which I thought was a trait shared only with Dad.  Yet Mister’s Monday companion almost certainly wasn’t Dad, the size and the eyes weren’t Dad’s.  So who was it?  To confuse me further, the coyote in my April 21 video post I first identified as Bold and subsequently as Mister.  It isn’t Mister, the lower lip isn’t right.  Yet I’m not sure it is Bold either.  Bold’s conformation is superior and the April 21 coyote’s isn’t.  That its body shape was lackluster made me think it Mister, but I missed that the lower lip wasn’t Mister’s.  I wonder if there are four, perhaps five of the seven last year pups still with Mom and Dad.  If there are more than three yearlings in there, I may never really know it to a certainty, and if there are extra yearlings in there, I don’t really know if they are siblings to the others or not.  What I do know is that this group is pretty good at delivering confusion.

Posting written by Charles Wood. Visit Charles Wood’s website for these and more coyote photos: Charles Wood. His work is copyrighted and may only be used with his explicit permission.

Why Spooked?

This guy was wandering an area looking for scraps of food in a picnic area early one morning. He scratched the ground cover in a couple of places where he then picked up something and nibbled it up — I could not tell what it was that the coyote was finding and eating — it was still too dark to see.  The coyote then wandered over to a small building structure where he continued scrounging around. The structure had a small overhanging roof which the coyote found disturbing for some reason.

Did this small protrusion at the roof remind the coyote of something frightening? It wasn’t so frightening as to cause the coyote to run away, but the coyote did continually flinch, look up, withdraw, and reach in while keeping most of its body and weight as far back as possible from what he was after. He kept himself ready to take off and flee, and began doing so several times but stopped himself in mid-takeofff, returning to a position that was at the “ready”, “set”, . . . . but not quite “go”. Whatever caused this spooked behavior was totally in the coyote’s mind — maybe a thought or a fear based on some past experience. There was nothing going on in the roof.

I have seen coyotes repeatedly look up as they walk under trees. I’m wondering what kind of threats could come from “above” besides falling gum nuts and fruit, or maybe a large branch falling that might hit them? My dog used to spook at objects in this exact same manner — though never from something “above”. The funniest was when he noticed a life-size ceramic goose close by and reacted as if it might go after him. My dog weighed 92 pounds!

Pairs

Coyotes may live all alone, they may live as strongly bonded pairs, or they may live in larger groups — the groups are families which consist of a mother and a father, this years pups and some of last years and/or the previous year’s pups. I have heard that lone young males may hang out together until they find mates — but this is more of a temporary situation and I have not actually seen it.

Pairs don’t always necessarily follow the pattern of pairing up as male/female breeding couples. I have followed a mother and son for two years – they remain a seemingly bonded pair. There are also mother and daughter pairs that remain together over an extended period of time if something has happened to Dad. I’m trying to figure out where these two coyotes — Belle and Goggles —  fit in.

I have not figured out their situation totally. There is an older coyote named Goggles — named so because of the lighter colored areas around its eyes; and there is a young female, Belle, so named for her doe-like beauty. The older coyote has been in the area at least four years – the younger one was probably born here. They work as a pair, often leaving together and then splitting up to seek their luck separately as they hunt in the evening  – coming together off and on during their evening outings.

On this particular day, the younger Belle remained close to her protected area when Goggles appeared in the distance, trouping in from afar, coming in the younger one’s direction, but stopping at an obvious gopher hole to inspect and maybe catch an obvious and quick snack — gopher mounds stand out in a mowed area. The meal did not materialize, so the coyote continued in Belle’s direction and disappeared behind some brush. Belle, who had taken refuge in the bushes until this point,  then came out and began to forage on her own, remaining close to her protected area instead of venturing out to where Goggles had gone. She was still eyeing the same vole hole when I departed.

Rendezvous, by Charles Wood

Saturday at dusk Mom sat watching me when Mister, her yearling son, came towards her down their hill.  His dad approached Mom, coming from the east.  Mister burst towards them and the three had a rendezvous.  Near the end of the video, Dad works to settle Mister down.  A little after that Mom shows Mister some teeth and he drops onto his side:  almost as if Mom shot him dead!

These three, after the rendezvous, tried to cross under the bridge into the nature preserve.  However they wouldn’t go under the bridge with me standing there.  While waiting to pass, they began to yip, the upset kind.  I left so they could continue on their way.

Significantly, Mom and Dad were together without their new puppies.  Are there new puppies this year?  If so, were they at dusk Saturday unattended or being cared for by one or both of the other yearlings, Bold and Shy?  If either alone or being cared for, where?

I don’t know.  Last year Mom and Dad raised their puppies without help.  Last year when I saw puppies, Dad was with them.  At times I saw Dad alone without either Mom or puppies.  Seeing solitary Dad meant to me that Mom must have been with the puppies.  This year there are too many full grown coyotes around to allow such guesswork.  Yearlings may make life easier for Mom and Dad, but they make my life, though richer with coyotes, harder.

Posting written by Charles Wood. Visit Charles Wood’s website for more coyote photos: Charles Wood. His work is copyrighted and may only be used with his explicit permission.

Signs of Scat, An Old Coyote, A Sick Ewe and A Dead Rabbit: More on Ginny’s Coyote Area

Hi Janet,

scat upon scat (now with mold)

Yesterday I walked the other way onto the well-used multi-purpose trail called the Springwater Trail.  The first half mile of the trail heading east has had a lot of scat at times.    This is the area I referred to as being half a mile away and possibly containing a den.  Yesterday there was only one quite recent pile while everything else had been there a week ago.  Today I walked to the pups sighting location.  No new scat anywhere.  I’m wondering if that means the pups have been moved.  I also checked another part of the trail not too far away and found no new scat.  I have seen a lot of it there before also.

We saw the lame coyote once when he trotted in front of our car.  He looked and moved like a very old dog would move and that is why I label him as old.  He is not thin but is very ragged looking.  I have only seen a coyote once on the trail (that is how I found your blog because I wanted to learn all that I could about them) and that was right at the trail entrance near our house.  Hunting for rabbits no doubt!  Bud saw an adult last fall on one of his walks. Both of these had beautiful coats and seemed very healthy.

trail where pups appeared

Last week I met a family with grandparents walking on the trail and mentioned the coyote scat to the children.  The grandparents told me they have sheep and coyotes stand at their fence and sing and whine all the time.  The grandfather told me that recently he had a sick, old ewe and THREE DAYS later when he went to check on her he only found most of her skeleton.  He is sure the coyotes picked her clean – including her gum tissue and ribs.  They said coyotes would infrequently take a newborn lamb after I asked if they thought the coyotes actually killed anything.  Any person who would knowingly leave a sick animal for three days – well I cannot relate to them.  I’m very cautious what I say to people on the trail about the coyotes.   One man we see on the trail is sure someone shot coyotes a few years back.

blackberries through which pups disappeared; there is more scat again now, indicating resumed activity in the immediate area

On Monday I noticed a dead rabbit at the beginning of the trail which is near our house.  It appeared to have died mid-crawl.  I turned it over and did not see any injuries or changes in hair.  About a week earlier Bud said “it smells like something died in the blackberries” as we walked by the same location.  Several neighbors and dog walkers who use the trail came to the same conclusion I did – that a neighbor might be poisoning rabbits.  We are all very concerned.  I really hope this is not the case.  Yes, rabbits do incredible damage to yards and gardens but rabbit fencing keeps them out.  I know, we added it to the existing deer fence around our yard.  Yesterday the rabbit was gone but I suspect a neighbor disposed of it.  I have read that coyotes are very smart about not consuming poisoned food and I hope that is the case here.  We have a family of red-tailed hawks in the greenspace that I am really enjoying and I think they prefer freshly killed prey over carrion.  Poison can travel so fast up and down the food chain.

I’ll let you know if I notice any changes.  I don’t expect to see coyotes because our dog really seems to have a history with coyotes.  He is a Bouvier rescue we have had almost a year.  He spent several years running loose on the NM mesas and he thinks deer, coyotes and rabbits are to be chased.  He also barks like crazy.  I’m sure the local coyotes know him and make sure not to reveal themselves to us!

Ginny


Encountering Someone New

I recognize all of the coyotes I see on a regular basis as individuals — and they recognize me — so when I did encounter someone absolutely new, it gave me the opportunity to observe a kind of wary curiosity towards me which I had not seen in a while. This little gal was charming in her careful-curious/ push-pull behavior towards me!  I’ve named her “Wary”.

Her individualistic characteristics would probably not be recognizable to many, but to me they stood out: her extremely fine and pointed snout, her uneven and almost human eyes, her large rounded ears with the very dark centers which she kept straight up and higher than any of the other coyotes do, her compact stance. There were coat markings, but it is the facial features and comportment which have always interested me the most. There was a delicacy about her and an alertness or readiness to flee — along with the very natural “insatiable curiosity” which is so characteristic of most coyotes.

She did not ignore me as most of the others now do, but watched me carefully and questioningly — always on her toes and ready to split.  After standing there, very still, and observing each other from a large distance on the path where we first spotted each other, she turned to hurry off, but then came back to peek at me from behind a bush, stretching her neck to make sure she could see me, and to see what I was doing. For my part, I walked away when I could tell she was having second thoughts about watching me watching her — but she decided to linger  a little longer which gained me a few more minutes to try to get a good shot of her. Then, her better instincts took over, and she trotted away.

I don’t know if I’ll ever run into her again, but I’ve named her anyway, just in case I do see her again. I say “her” because of her delicate features. The coyotes whose gender I could not be sure of  I tend to label as females until and unless they prove this is not so. Females tend to have “sweeter” or “cuter” faces with narrower jaws and foreheads and delicate little noses — at least compared to the males. Young coyotes have these same features until they grow out of them — which is why two I knew as infants I called females — but they ended up revealing that they were males — not for a full year did I know this! I have a friend who laughs at the change: “they were girls for almost a year”!  The older males I have seen were obviously male: they were bulkier and hulking, husky fellows who huffed and puffed, kicking and scraping the ground in a big display of power before departing. Their message was clear and I stayed clear. I wonder if the young males I’ve known will be like this? I wonder if this one will remain a female?

Near Encounters

Here are two occurrences of near encounters in two different parks. In the top row of photos, a coyote was calmly wandering along when a man and his leashed puppy happily walk by on a nearby path. Neither of these took any notice at all of the coyote in the near distance. The coyote helped the situation by sitting absolutely still among the tall grasses in which he blended in well, while watching the duo walk by. After they had moved on, so did the coyote, ever so cautiously and silently and then keeping more to the edges of bushes and trees. Coyotes do their utmost to avoid humans.

In the bottom row of photos, is a coyote who emerged in a green area where its camouflage did not serve it well. There was a group of dog walkers and their small dogs coming its way. These walkers commented positively about seeing the coyote, happy to see wildlife in the area. Although the coyote stopped and watched them, it soon hurried on through the very unprotected open space at almost a run, stopping to sniff one spot — in clear view of all — before moving on. When it arrived at the end of the open field where there were some bushes and trees which offered some protection, the coyote turned around and sat to watch and see if anyone might be after him. No one was — all the dogs were leashed and calm  – so he continued on his trekking undisturbed. Although this coyote did not avoid detection, he did hurry through the area, minimizing the amount of time he was in anyone’s visual field.

What I have described here are coyotes trekking through an area as they hunt or head to a resting spot. They tend to be seen most often at much greater distances, perhaps as they rest and observe from hill slopes or knolls. The distance offers a kind of “buffer or safety zone” to both them and to those who observe them.

Warning Bark at a Den Site

We noticed a lone coyote hurrying away, way down the path ahead of  us. There were just a few of us on the path, but there was also a dog. The coyote obviously saw us as threats so it hurried up to a lookout, where, half-hidden, it proceeded to warn us off with its bark for about 20 minutes. A couple of people hung around to watch, as did their dog: they had never heard a coyote barking and were very excited and exhilarated by the experience.

I always suggest to people that  it’s best to move on if you have a dog: this is the reason the coyote was barking. Having said that, I’ve noticed that coyotes will continue barking for a considerable time, whether the threat has departed or not! I took this video at the site of on den way back in April. Other people saw the pups, but I did not. On the video, you’ll hear lots of birds, a human voice and a San Franciscan fog horn in addition to the coyote’s barking!

Mom’s Mistake, by Charles Wood

In Los Angeles county this week I saw Mom a few times and also a couple of the yearlings.  Thursday Mom came under the bridge headed south into her field, having come from the nature preserve.  She paused when she heard my camera’s shutter.  It took her about a minute to go hide and watch.  The nape of her neck:  looks like mange, something I haven’t seen on her before.

Tonight, Saturday, she was headed in the opposite direction, coming from the south headed north toward the nature preserve.  Alerted, she stopped to hide and watch.  My friend Lynne was with me.  When Mom hid I knew the show was over because Mom sits and watches for as long as I stay.  So I left for the car.  Lynne followed initially and then stopped as I continued toward the car.  The show wasn’t over, though it took me leaving to get Mom to move again.  Mom headed for the bridge to pass north into the nature preserve, yet she didn’t because Mom finally saw Lynne hadn’t continued to follow me.  Consequently, Mom walked towards Lynne and then stopped to stare at her, a chain link fence between them and separated by about sixty feet.  Lynne left and presumably Mom went into the nature preserve.

That was the first time I have been aware of Mom making a mistake.  Apparently she thought bothhumans had left, freeing her to resume her walk north.  Nevertheless, Mom recovered quickly from her misperception and proceeded to successfully move Lynne along.

Posting written by Charles Wood. Visit Charles Wood’s website for these and more coyote photos: Charles Wood. His work is copyrighted and may only be used with his explicit permission.

More Coyote Kisses!

Again, I came across coyotes ecstatically greeting each other. The greeting went on for a full minute. Most of the activity occurred behind bushes and grasses, but I was able to glimpse a little of it! Notice that the alpha coyote is always standing up, whereas the submissive coyote kisses from a lowered position, almost all the way to the ground. The greetings I’ve seen always involve lots of wiggly ecstatic affection, but greetings may also solidify social hierarchy within a group — these photos would suggest that.

ecstatic greeting with kisses

Description Of One Coyote Area

Janet,  I went with Bud this evening so he could show me the details of his encounter with the pups. He also showed me where they dashed into the blackberries and there is definitely a pathway there if you know where to look.  There has been a great deal of scat on that portion of the trail since Feb. which is why I suspected a den.

I did see five piles of scat that were left within the last 24 hours along the trail closer to our house and on the way to the sighting location.  Three of those piles were from large coyotes so I’m confident there is a parent around.  I will now worry less about the pups.  One thing I noticed that I have not seen before  is one pile of scat that had another one on top and around it.  They seemed to be about the same age – probably several days.  Is there a significance to this?  This was very near where the pups dashed into the blackberries.

A dog walker who I recognized told me that she had encounters with two different coyotes very recently.  The first was with an old, lame coyote which turned and trotted up the trail.  This coyote has been spotted often in and near the greenspace.  The second was just two days ago and that coyote stood in the center of the path and stared at her and her two dogs.  She said that the coyote did not appear to be afraid of her and wasn’t moving so she turned her larger dog lose to chase it off!  Her dog returned within minutes and they continued their walk.  Both of these sightings were in the same area and not near the area where Bud saw the pups.

About three weeks ago someone dumped about 25 salmon along side the road near the entrance to the trail where she saw the coyotes.  There is also an entrance very near that one which we use that has an abundance of rabbits.  The coyotes are in the area daily I would guess although the scat now also has cherry pits.  Ginny

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Hi Ginny — There is a lot of information here — a pretty complete picture in a nutshell!  Thank you for sharing it!  There is a den hidden by blackberries back and away from a trail, and a semi-hidden path leading to it, with scat at or close to its entrance. I’m wondering if what you describe as “one pile of scat on top and around another” might just be the “marking” by one coyote on top of the last guy’s marking which is typical of all canines? Or, it might be that a parent is “covering over” a pup’s scent?  I have never seen two scats on top of each other, so I am speculating.

Your friend’s two encounters show two kinds of reactions: coyotes often trot off quickly when they see a person or a dog, but they sometimes will delay and study what is coming their way before leaving, being almost forced to leave at the last minute. 

I have found that coyotes who live in urban areas do not appear always to be afraid of humans, although they do keep a safe distance away; they learn to take people and dogs in stride once they become accustomed to seeing them for a period of time. This is, unless a dog threatens them in which case a chronic antagonistic relationship could develop between the dog and coyote.

That you have an injured coyote is interesting — I hope it is just a temporary injury — you described that coyote as old. Old age takes its toll on all of us, including wild animals. It is interesting for me to find out how these senior citizens cope in their declining years.  I’ve seen a lame (temporarily lame) young coyote hurry away from dogs from a much further distance than he did before or after the injury, so this may have had something to do with the older fella hurrying off. But also, each coyote is an individual with its own personality, and some tend to be shyer and more careful, and some bolder than others.

The salmon must have been a feast for all the wildlife around:  raccoons, skunks, raptors as well as the coyotes. Scat reveals a lot about coyote diets.  Coyotes are opportunistic eaters — which means they can eat almost anything that is edible. I guess they found a cherry tree!


Why Isn’t Mom Around?

Hi Janet:

Last evening my husband, Bud, and our dog were walking on the nearby trails and saw a coyote pup about 150 feet ahead zigzagging back and forth on the trail.  He stopped, remembering that I had told him that coyotes are very protective of pups.  Our dog has a bad sense of smell so didn’t notice the pup.  Then another pup comes out of the blackberries and then a third.  They were very curious and moved about 50 feet down the trail toward Bud and still our dog did not see or smell them.

Bud was delighted but also concerned and was ready to turn around when the little yapper dog who lives much further up the hill but next to the trail saw our dog and came down the trail full throttle and barking loudly.  He was not at all interested in the pups but he did scare them and they dashed into the blackberry bushes.  Bud continued up the trail and only when he got to the spot they disappeared into did our dog smell them.  He then went nuts of course.

Is this normal for pups to be exploring without an adult near?  We knew that there was a den closeby that area because of the amount of scat on the trail.  We have noticed pup scat lately also. We also suspect there is another den about half a mile from this one.  How much area does a group of coyotes claim?  Or do they claim it at all?

We have many black-tailed deer in the area and many fawns each spring.  I have been curious about the possibility of coyotes killing very young fawns that are left in hiding while their mothers graze elsewhere.  I have never seen any evidence of this happening.  Does it?

Thanks for all you do for coyotes!  Ginny

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Hi Ginny –

Thanks for sharing your concerns — it’s a very interesting situation. From my own experience and from what I have read, coyote pups are keenly watched by their parents — either by one or by both parents. Even if a parent is not apparently around, the parent/s are always close by and ready to defend the pups if necessary. I should add that I have seen a mother coyote keep an eye on her brood from a huge distance away — she kept an eye on them as she relaxed in the sunshine. And then I saw her dash off in their direction, but I do not know why. Mothers do leave their pups when they go off to hunt, but she tucks them away in a safe spot where they normally stay. 

Other possible explanations for pups without a parent close by, include an overtaxed single parent who happens to be in hot pursuit of prey nearby, or a parent holding off another dog which had chased it in hopes that that dog wouldn’t find the pups. Worse would be if the parents have been injured or are ill and unable to defend their brood, or if they’ve met an untimely death.

More than likely, the pups just strayed from where they were supposed to stay put. But it wouldn’t hurt to check on them.

Maybe you could take walks in that area of the woods for the next few days until you can figure out the situation? Whatever you do, don’t get too close to the pups and don’t try picking them up — a parent coyote may come out of hiding to ferociously defend its young. If you continue to see the pups without a parent, you have a dilemma: I’m not sure the pups can survive without their parents, however anything you do to interfere is going to alter their natural lives forever.

If you see the pups alone again, you could call the humane society. If they are progressive, they would help raise the pups in such a way so that they won’t become habituated and so that they can be released again into the wild. Most humane societies are not equipped to do this.

You could also leave the pups to see if they make it on their own — maybe the humane society could suggest a way for you to help these pups without actually intruding on them or overtly interfering so as not to habituate them or alter their wildness?

As for the fawns, coyotes tend to look for the easiest prey to catch. Voles and gophers work fine in my area, but they also eat skunks, raccoons and squirrels here. Yes, coyotes are known to prey on newborn deer. I’ve read where newborn deer are protected by their lack of odor — I don’t know how much protection this offers against coyotes. But also, coyotes are known to be very individualistic in their behaviors and just because coyotes in one area eat certain prey doesn’t mean they do so in other areas. So to find out what yours specifically are up to and what their eating and preying habits are, you would need to explore for such activity.

You said there was another den only half a mile away from this one. A coyote family normally has more than one den which it moves the pups between. Moving the pups diminishes flea infestations and also it  serves as protection against predators.

Also, it is not unusual for coyotes — including very young ones — to be curious about walkers and dogs, and follow them.  However, a parent — if he is around — may decide that this kind of behavior calls for disciplinary action: see Charles Wood’s posting  More Dominant Male/Father Coyote Behavior .

I hope this helps a little. Please let me know, and please keep me posted on what you find out!  Sincerely, Janet

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Thanks for your reply Janet.  Bud went to the same spot tonight and didn’t see the pups.  There is a lot of underbrush and blackberries everywhere along the trail except where it has been removed as invasive species.  Coyotes are not seen often because of this.  Lots of people let their dogs run loose on the trail but Bud did not see anyone else yesterday although it is a fairly large, heavily wooded area with several trails.

Regulars on the trail only see coyotes a few times a year.  Most of the trees are deciduous so I really tried to spot them during the winter but no such luck.  I think they are very used to the dogs and walkers and so know where to locate so they are not within view.  We will keep an eye on the situation as best we can.  The city only removes invasive species by hand so they do not have funding for much work.  They primarily remove the holly trees hoping to attract songbirds.  There are some songbirds there but also in residence is a Cooper’s Hawk(s) who dines on those same songbirds.  Ginny

Stalled by Curiosity in the Middle of the Street

Fortunately, it was very early so morning traffic had not really begun. The one and only other car that went by was going at a very low speed. Rather than run for safety as the car approached, the coyote just stood there and stared as the car passed within only a few feet of itself.

As the photos show, this coyote began crossing the street, and then got stalled right in the middle at the double yellow line. There was some odor that caught its attention and it had to check it out. But even after that task was completed, the coyote just remained close to the center double dividing line where it looked around and trotted back and forth — acting a bit confused and bewildered in that large and open asphalted space. It was in the street for a total of about a minute, but it seemed much longer than that. Finally it crossed to the other side, urinated, and then, unbelievably, it did the same thing coming back. Luckily no more cars appeared.

Please watch for ALL wild animals on all roadways. Roadkill can be prevented if we keep our eyes open. The highest cause of death for coyotes in urban areas is being hit by a car.

Dad Swims, by Charles Wood

In Los Angeles county I was standing on the river bank Friday at twilight.  Dad came out of the field onto the river bank south of me and about forty yards away.  I stood and stared at him and he went about a third of the way down the river’s concrete side.  I couldn’t see him there so I walked to the edge of the river to take a look.  Dad was headed my way until he saw me watching him from above.  At that point the two leashed dogs with me spotted Dad and began to bark.  I walked towards Dad and he went all the way down to the river and swam across it.  Once over, he trotted up the opposite concrete bank and disappeared from view.

I walked back to the car and on the way I saw Dad waiting and watching fairly far away.  A bit after I passed him he headed north towards the road on which I had been walking.

I don’t know what was up with Dad Friday.  The few times I’ve seen him come out of the field onto the river bank it has been to warn me away and then to retreat back into his field.  My guess is that he was on the river bank Friday because he had decided to leave his field and head north in the river bed.  I got in his way and he delayed heading north, the direction he was traveling when I last saw him.  Had his intent instead been to come out and warn me off, I believe that warn me off he would have done.

Posting written by Charles Wood. Visit Charles Wood’s website for these and more coyote photos: Charles Wood. His work is copyrighted and may only be used with his explicit permission.

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