“Didn’t Mom Tell You Not To Play With Your Food?” & Dad Steals The Meal

This was absolutely entertaining to watch today! Little female yearling wanders off to hunt from the area where her Dad had stationed himself to keep an eye on things. She works hard and is extremely patient, which pays off: she succeeds in catching some prey after about 15 minutes of intense effort, and immediately kills it.

Instead of eating the prey right away — an indication that she was not terribly hungry — she plays with her catch for a few minutes, tossing it up in the air, catching it, pouncing on it, and generally just having fun. “Didn’t Mom tell you not to play with your food?” A friend of mine suggested this might be a good descriptive title for this posting.

When I was a kid, if you could get away with it,  much more fun than eating was to see how high you could stack the peas, form a dam in the potatoes and break it so the gravy would run out, make the chicken wing work, organize the carrot sticks in geometrical patterns, spread everything around so it looked like you had eaten most of it. “Don’t play with your food” we were told, but no reason was ever given.

Today I noted that there might be something to that rule! Within a few minutes, Dad came walking over from his lookout post. “There’s Dad! I’ll show him what I can do!” The youngster tossed the prey high up in the air one last time and tumbled over in the process, with Dad watching and closing in. The prey flew up in the air and landed on the other side of Dad.

We all know that coyotes are opportunistic, and here was an opportunity! Dad grabbed the food that had been tossed and ran off with it! And he ate it up! The thief!! Might there be a moral to the story?

And the youngster watched, somewhat bewildered! Dad then scratched himself by pushing his back against the stiff branches of  a bush, and then both coyotes headed over to where the prey had been found in the ground. But there was nothing else to be had from that location. Ahh, that’s life!

The youngster turned to Dad and began grooming him. All appeared to have been forgiven, and maybe even forgotten! The female hadn’t been hungry anyway, right?! Then, they both headed off into the bushes.

Farming With Coyotes In Maine — Geri Vistein

My Coyote Yipps blog concentrates on urban coyotes: on coyotes and their behaviors which one might encounter in an urban environment. But coyotes also live in areas with ranches and farms where there is a need to protect livestock. The solution to most issues with coyotes, usually, is mass killings of these animals. It’s a never ending cycle, because, of course, new animals come to fill the niches vacated by those who have been killed, so the cycle of blood baths continues year after year.

But there are better solutions that are more effective, more humane and good for everyone, including coyotes, livestock and farmers and ranchers.

Geri Vistein has created a fantastic Facebook page, Farming with Coyotes in Maine. Geri, with the rest of us, is trying to increase awareness and promote management practices that don’t involve killing. Please visit her page, even if you are not in the ranching or farming business: https://www.facebook.com/FarmingwithCoyotesinMaine. Here are her three most recent posts!! Thank you Geri!!

1) A Child Shall Lead Them ~ posted April 2nd, is about a children's book written by Jonathan London.

1) A Child Shall Lead Them ~ posted April 2nd, is about a children’s book written by Jonathan London.

2) ONE OF OUR FARMERS SHARED WITH ME AN EXCELLENT CONVERSATION SHE HAD WITH HER RESIDENT COYOTES ~ posted March 28th, talks about an electric fence the farmers built.

2)  One of Our Farmers Shared With Me an Excellent Conversation She Had With Her Resident Coyotes ~ posted March 28th, talks about an electric fence the farmers built.

3) Coyotes Miss Nothing In Their World! ~ posted March 15th, is about using guardian animals to protect livestock.

3) Coyotes Miss Nothing In Their World! ~ posted March 15th, is about using guardian animals to protect livestock.

“Love the Good Earth”, by Cathy Carey

"Love the Good Earth", 30", by Cathy Carey

“Love the Good Earth”, 30″, by Cathy Carey

Cathy has painted in oil another fabulous coyote in her garden using her amazing signature pallet of bright colors. This one is entitled “Love the Good Earth”. I hope folks recognize “the” coyote on the Coyote Yipps site!

“This oil painting is another from the view I had one morning of a coyote in our upper garden. I thought she looked like the Mother of the pack. I used with permission photos from the “Coyote Yipps” Blog by Janet Kessler. I have been experimenting with adding words to my paintings, and this is the first where I did it purposefully. It was first suggested to me from Karen Lane who saw the word “Joy” in my painting – “Reaching Out”.  I loved the idea of the organic meaning of the painting being part of the foliage and succulents. Look for “Love” under the coyote to the right, and “the Good Earth” on lower right. See it?” To view more of my work online visit:  www.artstudiosandiego.com

Male Yearling Accepts Submissive Role In Order To Stay With Family Pack

Father to the left, daughter in the middle facing us, submitting son to the right, down.

Father to the left, daughter in the middle facing us, submitting son to the right, down.

In a previous posting I described an observation involving a father coyote and his daughter running to an area where another of the pups from the same litter was being messaged to “leave”. This seems logical since any male would be competition for the father in this territory. However, another male youngster from the same litter has been allowed to remain. The explanations I can think of are, 1) this male and the female pup have always been best friends, and 2) this male submits readily, always, when asked to. He is not a threat and won’t be unless and until he rebels against always having to submit.

Here are two incidents I observed recently. In the sequence above the male youngsters moves away from a possible “disagreement”, but he is made to buckle under anyway. Below three coyotes consisting of a dad, a daughter and a son, are interested in the same thing on the ground. Daughter considers the son, her brother, in the way and grabs his snout. Dad supports her with a growl and signs to the son to hit the ground. Son hits the ground obediently.

More Nicks and Dents

More wounds

More wounds

Oh, no!! More gashes and lesions are appearing on the wounded yearling male I posted about earlier. He’s looking totally pockmarked. What is going on? Is he being attacked? These are the kinds of wounds which are inflicted by another coyote. Is another family member, or several family members, attempting to drive this fellow out of the family pack? And is he refusing to go? Or is something else going on?

The Wound Got Bigger

We’ve worried about the fella with the two wounds which was posted a couple of weeks ago. The wound on its haunches grew larger and redder over the next few days, maybe due to its becoming infected. Intervention is always a bad idea unless it is absolutely necessary. Trapping a coyote is extremely traumatic and harmful to these wild creatures. If antibiotics were to be offered, say, hidden in food, there is no guarantee that the right animal would get them.

I recently spoke to a medical doctor about it.  The coyote has been biting and licking it, which I thought was making the condition worse. In fact, it turns out that licking is the best that can happen. Animal saliva contains some antibiotic properties, so this self-medication is the best proactive measure — and it’s being done by the animal himself!

 

Intimate Coyote Sounds, by Jo


After 30 seconds of coyote family “greeting” squeals, this coyote family’s vocalizations settled down into new additional softer sounds that many may not have heard before: little peeps, a playful lower growl, and it’s more like they’re having a conversation toward the end, rather than just the usual merriment.  It was a warm, intimate “conversation”.  “Intimate” is the perfect word for it. . . I would just love to know what they’re talking about!

This recording occurred at night. There was nothing to see, but lots to hear!

Up Against A Wall and Walloped

A father and a daughter coyote had been lolling on a hillside when the daughter’s attention became riveted on something in the distance. She stared at it for a minute and then darted off, at a full run. Dad was surprised at her suddenly bolting away, but he followed not too far behind. And I, too, ran, but at a relatively slow follow.

When I caught up with them, they were sitting next to a house and their attention was focused on something I could not see. One of the coyotes then ran forwards and I could see flailing tails and lowered bodies, and rolling around. There was a third coyote there. It was because of this third coyote that the others had made their mad dash over to this area.

I soon recognized the third coyote as a male sibling to the female, son to the father — a family member! I had not seen him in months. This is a coyote whom I had characterized as timid and careful. He preferred “watching” his siblings roughhouse rather than entering into rough play. The last time I saw him, he had hurried off quickly — he avoided being seen by people and pets. I imagined that he had either moved into the bushes for good, where he would live his life hidden from view, or dispersed.

Could this be a joyful greeting of the kind I have seen so often? As I got closer, the sad truth revealed itself: teeth were bared. I realized that this male youngster had probably been driven off, banned, from the territory at some point. Today there was a confrontation because of the male youngster’s return to “forbidden” territory. This would explain his absence.

The fray moved to the open lawn at first but soon the yearling male coyote backed up against the wall of a house — and he remained there, possibly for protection. At first both father and daughter coyote charged him. But then the female youngster went off in the distance, focusing her attention elsewhere, but intermittently updating herself on the battle between father and son, with a glance in that direction.

11-month old male coyote, up against a wall

11-month old male coyote, up against a wall

Dad coyote would stalk, then strike. The strike consisted of punching, nipping, and knocking the youngster over with a shove from Dad’s hindquarters, maybe in an attempt to sit on him, or throw him on his back. The son yelped and fought back in self-defense, all the while standing his ground and not succumbing to lying on his back submissively. I wondered why he didn’t just run off. Did he know he might be chased, and, out in the open, there would be no protection at all? Or was he himself making a “comeback” claim?

The assaults were not aimed to maim, they’re intended as a firm messaging device: “Leave! You are not welcome here anymore!” The father’s strikes were short but intense. After a few seconds of contact, Dad would withdraw about 30 feet and watch, either lying down or standing, probably giving the youngster “the evil eye” — communicating through facial expressions and body language. After a few minutes, there would be another round of this activity.

At one point a dog and walker appeared. I suggested to the owner that he leash his dog and keep moving. The man waited there for a few minutes. At that point the young female jumped IN FRONT of the dog and walker and lured/led them away from the battling coyotes! Fascinating!  The young female returned to her spot in the near distance after the dog and owner were far enough away.

Eventually Dad decided to walk away from the “interloper” coyote, but not before giving several backward glances over his shoulder at the young male — shooting him the “evil eye” again, and peeing a dislike message. He then slowly walked off, with the female close behind, stopping every now and then to look back at the young male who remained with his back up against the wall. When they were out of sight, the young male lay down for a minute, but only for a minute, and then he, himself, darted off quickly in the other direction, and into the bushes.

I caught up with the Dad and young female as they, too headed into bushes. I suppose that the young female is being guarded and protected, and that the territorial domain will be hers. I’m wondering if she has alpha characteristics which might have driven the mother away. Just a thought.

Interestingly, I’ve seen moms beat up female youngsters in this same manner, and now a dad doing the same to a male youngster. It’s as if each parent is jealous of it’s unique position and wants to keep it that way. It’s same-sex youngsters who present the biggest threat to any adult. Is it dispersal time, or some other rule which is being imposed? Pupping season is beginning, which means territories have to be secure for any pups which might be born this year.

Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Washington – New Website Is Up

Marla

Who are coyotes? Coyotes are individuals. Your average little coyote is cunning, intelligent, curious, playful, protective, adventurous, independent, self-reliant, self-sufficient, has family values, a frontier spirit and strong individuality. Hey, aren’t these the same rugged characteristics in which we ourselves take pride? — Janet Kessler for WildCare 

The Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Washington has just put up their new website and I was honored to be able to contribute information and photos! Take a look at the “Coyotes” and the “Multimedia” sections! Read Marla Bennett’s wonderful article on behalf of coyotes! And go visit the refuge!

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Columbia/Wildlife_Habitat/Coyotes.html

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Columbia/Multimedia/Coyotes.html

Marla (1)

Snapping At Mosquitoes; Relating to Coyotes

In February we had our first heavy rainstorm in almost a year. That is when the climate turned humid and muggy: mosquitoes were out buzzing and biting. The mosquitoes were big and sluggish. I was able to hit every one that landed on me. This coyote, it appears, was in the same predicament as I was. He, too, was dealing with mosquitoes.

“In the same predicament”:  As much as possible, I try relating coyote behavior and what drives that behavior to our own human behavior to help me understand them, and to help me explain them to others. In many ways, I have found, coyotes are not so different from ourselves.

Anthropomorphizing has received a bad rap from some academicians, but, I’m finding, just as many support this approach to understanding non-human creatures. Although there may be no science for it, neither is there any against it! In fact, psychologists for many years have used animal studies to understand humans, such as the classic studies of the affect of maternal deprivation.

“Coyote Wonderland”, Oil Painting by Cathy Carey

Coyote Wonderland, 30" x 30" oil by Cathy Carey ©2014

Coyote Wonderland, 30″ x 30″ oil by Cathy Carey ©2014

I live in Escondido – just outside San Diego, and we have a 1/2 acre garden on top of a tall hill overlooking Lake Hodges and the inland valleys, pretty much a 360 degree view! I did this painting of our garden with Starvation Mountain in the background, after watching two generations of coyote pups. They were born under some bushes a few houses away. I found Janet Kessler’s blog “Coyote Yipps” and I loved the look on this little guys face.  It was the look of contentment and peace with your world I wanted to capture for this  painting.

Two Wounds in Less Than A Week

Yearling Male with prominent wound on his hip

Yearling male with bright red inflamed wound on his hip with loss of fur

I don’t know if this wound to the hip, above, is due to a skin ailment or a wound from a fight, possibly with a raccoon, possibly with another coyote? It looks like it’s about 3″ in diameter. It appeared about a week ago. And now, just as the inflammation and and bright red color are subsiding, I discovered  a bright red gash at the ankle joint of the left leg, while the other leg, too, seems to have been scraped-up or punctured — all on the same coyote. What could have caused these?

We tend to forget that wild animals sustain injuries constantly, and their bodies must heal themselves without the aid of antibiotics or other medications that we humans and our pets take for granted.

Photo shows deep wound to left ankle area, and puncture wounds to the right leg.

Wound to left ankle area, and scraped up right leg.

Nursing the wound throughout the day

Urban Coexistence Video Is Now Available in SPANISH!

Courting and New Bonds

It is again breeding season, when unattached coyotes look for partners who will become their lifelong mates. These two coyotes appear to be a new “couple” or “pair”, or at least they are headed in that direction. The male has been following around after the female, at a comfortable distance, without crowding her, and even looking disinterested at times, but always only a few paces away!

The male is totally solicitous of the female, and ever so careful not to annoy or upset her. He watches for, and is alert to, any sign of displeasure from her. She is the queen. She, on the other hand, is much less interested in him, it seems. But she is his “chosen one”, and if she consents to his advances, they will become partners for life.

Watch An Eagle Grow Up – Live Video

Not a coyote, but I couldn’t help posting this for everyone to see and follow! It’s a live stream from Berry College outside of Atlanta, Ga. You can see one recently hatched eggshell in the nest, and Mom, ever so patiently and calmly, keeping the chick warm.  A few minutes later, at the time of posting on February 23, Mom was feeding the youngster, and the other egg was still unhatched — she had been sitting on both!

If you want to be able to tell the difference between Mom and Dad, here is a video which explains the differences: http://youtu.be/5lARYcL5A50

One Chick, One Egg, Two Parents

One Chick, One Egg, Two Parents: February 25

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