Continue reading by pressing this link: http://baynature.org/articles/photo-gallery-coyotes-raising-kids-san-francisco/
07 Sep 2013 3 Comments
This recording was definitely a special one from last night, very full of love and excitement. Reminds me of when my dad used to come home from business trips and my brother and I would be shrieking with glee!
At 42 seconds there is a muffled growl, and then it goes silent. I remember reading “How to Speak Dog” many years go, and the author said that in the wild, the mother dog will silence her pups by placing her mouth over their muzzles and making a low growl, as if to say ‘ssshhh.” Is that possibly what happens at that 42 second mark? That would be fascinating! … Jo
[Hi Jo -- It is very possible that what you describe was going on! Yes, very exciting! Janet]
28 Aug 2013 4 Comments
in affection, bonds, care for the young, communication, coyote behavior, coyote parenting, ears, family interactions, feelings & emotions, greetings, mother coyote behavior, parenting, pupping, reunion
Exuberance, kisses, wiggly-sguiggles, and unbounded joy: that’s the description of a parent/pup greeting, in this case it is a mother-daughter greeting. The greeting lasted only about ten seconds, but it was intense.
The child coyote crouches low, belly right on the dirt, and extends her snout up to reach Mom’s. Ears are laid way back in total submission. At one point, the little girl is ready to turn belly up. This little coyote is ecstatic and overflowing with affection and happiness. Although it is the child that displays most of the affection — note that Mom’s eyes are squeezed shut most of the time, probably for protection from the onslaught — it was Mom who actually joyously ran down the hill to greet this little one, so Mom initiated this greeting! When Mom decided to go, the youngster followed.
This display of affection occurs even if the separation has been less than 1/2 hour. Coyote family members show this kind of affection for each other whenever they’ve been separated for even a short period of time.
23 Aug 2013 2 Comments
Here’s a series of photos I caught of a father coyote bringing food to youngsters.
*They see him coming and run towards him, knowing he has food for them.
*One sticks its snout into Dad’s mouth in an attempt to hurry up the process.
*Dad holds them off until he finds a spot accessible to both pups, where he regurgitates the food and then walks away.
*The pups anxiously eat up what has been brought to them.
*One pup then wants more and appeals to Dad by thrusting its snout into Dad’s, but Dad has no more to offer, so the pup returns to the “pile” of regurgitated food.
*When both pups are finished, Dad gives them each a snout squeeze with his own muzzle: this seems to be a mutually initiated behavior with pups thrusting their snouts into Dad’s mouth as he extends his snout to gently grab hold of theirs. Is this a “thank you” from the pups, or “mind your manners” from Dad?
In addition to the coyotes naturally blending into the landscape with their camouflage coloring, the observation occurred at twilight when it was hard to see, so I feel lucky to even have been aware of the event. Interestingly, Mom did not participate, being too far away to do so, but she was within observing distance, and she was keenly interested in the goings on, as revealed by her focused attention during this feeding event. These pups here are approaching 5 months of age.
30 Jul 2013 Leave a comment
Of this group chorus, only Mom can be seen — barely — in the distance. She’s far away, and it’s dusk. I’ve had to enhance the photo to make her really visible. Most of the sounds are coming from coyote pups hidden in various spots within the bushes! It sounds like the bushes are singing!
These pups were just a little over three months old when I made the recording — close in size to those in this photo below, taken elsewhere and at an earlier date: note that this litter in the photo consists of five pups, which is not unusual for coyotes, though many youngsters don’t make it to adulthood. I don’t know how many pups are in the pack I heard singing: remember that a few coyotes, with their different pitches, can sound like many more than there are.
Of course, coyote pups begin singing at an even younger age than three months, but they sound more like squeaky toys than real coyotes! If you want to hear what the youngest coyotes sound like, click this link: http://youtu.be/xKksJ3fvB1Q
26 Jun 2013 2 Comments
What a fantastic surprise to see this sight a few days ago on one of my extended treks through our various Bay Area parks! It looks like, true to reputation, coyote fathers spend their fair share of time minding the kids. Look hard, and you can see it’s the father. Here you see a papa coyote in charge of four youngsters.
But fathers’ jobs include much more than childcare. Fathers keep pups fed by bringing them regurgitated food and small whole prey. And they also will help train them to hunt. Note in this second photo how one of the youngsters is pushing its snout into Papa’s: that is what normally elicits the reflux in the father — but it’s just play here.
The kids here were pretty calm, while Papa sat there, ever so proud of his large brood. He saw me in the distance, and stayed there only long enough for me to get a few nice shots. Then he headed them into hiding and away from view.
05 Jun 2013 10 Comments
This mother coyote is still nursing, as seen by the photo. Her pups are in their eighth week of life already. Moms have to eat a huge amount of food to produce the milk necessary to feed the youngsters. But some of the food she eats will be regurgitated and fed as pablum — baby food — to the pups. The pups stick their snouts in the side of her mouth which elicits the necessary reflex for getting the food to them.
Dad Coyotes continue to bring home the bacon, too! Some of the food helps to nourish Mom, but he, too, regurgitates food for the young ones. Soon, if not already, prey being taken home like this will be torn apart for the youngsters and fed to them in bits and pieces — that’s the next step after the “pablum” for them.
03 Dec 2012 Leave a comment
These pictures are of Dad escorting his puppies in June 2010. He saw me, perceived me as a threat, and stopped. Although not all are pictured, he had at least three puppies with him.
One of the puppies didn’t stop when Dad stopped. Instead it got ahead of him and paused briefly. “One Pup Gets Forward” has the wayward puppy partially concealed in the lower left. Then the wayward puppy went forward, kept going, and got well out of Dad’s reach many yards away.
Dad did not follow the wayward puppy. “Dad Can’t Follow It” pictures Dad angry because one of his puppies got away. A different puppy clings to Dad.
Dad retreated with the rest of the puppies. Way too late for my comfort, the wayward puppy galloped back and caught up with Dad. I’ve never since seen a cute little coyote puppy run that fast. It was galloping as fast as a rocket, so earnestly wanting to be with Dad. I was ecstatic. I had again been able to take pictures of a coyote father with his puppies.
When I returned home I studied the photographs and also studied photographs taken on previous days. My study led me to some conclusions.
Generally Dad is cautious and expects danger when walking around. When Dad perceives a threat he makes an assessment and then takes action. With puppies in tow, Dad has fewer choices of action. Puppies are rambunctious and take effort to control. With puppies and perceiving a threat, there isn’t much Dad can effectively do other than to collect them and retreat.
Usually when they all came across me, the puppies noticed when Dad stopped and became cautious too. Cautious, the puppies held still, went to Dad, to each other, hid, or went back in the direction they all came from. The puppies were also curious and looked in my direction to see what Dad’s fuss was all about. When all were somewhat settled, Dad led a retreat. Note that with puppies, when Dad perceives a threat he expects good behavior from his children and usually gets it.
Unfortunately, this time one of the puppies didn’t get the “caution” message. One puppy kept going forward alone, getting somewhat far away. Initially it stopped, but it wanted to keep going and it did! This time Dad’s circumstances weren’t usual because he had a very poorly behaving puppy!
Yet Dad has situational intelligence and so do I. As I studied the photographs, I thought Dad had to understand that he couldn’t be in two places at the same time. Indeed, he looked toward the wayward puppy and appeared to be stymied, exasperated, resigned, composed, in charge, and as if saying: “I told you to stop.” Then Dad, still looking in charge, lifted his head toward me, the cause of his dilemma.
After studying the pictures, I realized just how angry Dad was. Why? It hit me and I was stunned by the thought. Dad was angry with me for separating out a puppy and he was angry because he couldn’t protect them all. In his mind, I had intended to cull one of his young. In my mind, I was but only watching a show. In Dad’s mind, I had won and he had lost a lot. He carried that look of frustrated hatred, a look that comes with a defeat.
In Dad’s mind, one puppy was beyond his protection, liable to be taken by a predator. I think he knew the situation required him to sacrifice one puppy for the safety of the others. Dad couldn’t protect the rest of his flock if he went to help one vulnerable puppy. He loves all his puppies and that day Dad knew he had to let one go. I caused it and Dad was livid. Yet he accepted the situation and acted prudently. Dad offered one of his children up so he could protect the rest. Until I arrived home to excitedly review my pictures, I thought I had been watching a show complete with cute puppies. At home with the photographs, I felt remorse. It wasn’t a show. To Dad, it was as real as life gets, life for which he strives to prepare his young.
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.
01 Dec 2012 2 Comments
He stands in front of her waiting for the routine grooming and tick removal which has become an everyday occurrence between these two. But she is busy grooming herself this time. He stands patiently, but she does not respond — she continues grooming herself. Finally, he lets her know more forcefully by engaging her muzzle — “can’t you see what I want?” Whether she sees it or not, she does not respond. He then plops himself right in front of her — maybe this might get a response? But no, she concentrates on her own grooming. Finally she heads off. He watches, a bit defeated, and then follows her.
I’ve seen this “request” a number of times now in several coyote pairs. More often than not, one ends up grooming the next one. Maybe it involves a request to relieve a particularly bad skin itch or pain. I always wonder why the service is not a mutual one.
09 Sep 2012 3 Comments
The video first has a color segment and the last third is in black and white, each taken different evenings.
The color segment is in three parts. The first fifteen seconds show Dad looking like a run over coyote whose ears can still move! He is about as flat as a coyote can get. He is waiting for family members. The next fifteen seconds show Dad still waiting. It looks like he is trying to taste the air, perhaps acquiring scents. The next half minute is what Dad and I were waiting for. Puppy shows up and greets him.
Puppy’s body language is highly deferential and is focused on Dad’s mouth. If it is asking for food, Dad shuts that down with some light bites. Puppy then stands for inspection while Dad sniffs Puppy’s hips. Puppy then goes for Dad’s mouth and again Dad says no. Puppy heads south and that day’s video ends.
The black and white segment has more action. Mom and Puppy move from left to right to meet and greet Dad. Eventually they settle down, Mom the coyote with the fuller figure. Then a yearling comes in from the left and the video ends.
In the black and white episode, Puppy was with Mom and they met up with Dad. The color episode leaves us to wonder who had been watching Puppy before it showed up. That day, after Dad and Puppy headed south, it was six minutes before another coyote, a yearling, came along. Puppy was probably with the yearling, hurrying ahead while the yearling instead straggled along.
Dad’s investigative sniffing of Puppy’s hips is intriguing. Odors dissipate and consequently contain clues as to when they may have been acquired. Dad already had a whiff of Puppy’s breath, perhaps smelling clues about when and what puppy had eaten. Puppy’s hips may have had clues about where and with whom Puppy had been. Unrecognized smells on Puppy would tell Dad something too. I suspect there is much day to day, hour by hour scent on a coyote that other coyotes are able to read.
When I come home, my dog greets me excitedly. When calmer, he wants to know what I’ve eaten and if I’ve been anywhere fun. I tell him. I let him smell my breath and my shoes.
31 Aug 2012 2 Comments
Here in LA county my dad coyote showed up alone. He sat for twelve minutes at the rendezvous area. Then this year’s puppy found Dad. The video shows their reunion.
I had to wonder. Why did the puppy also show up alone? Clearly it is too young to be alone. If it had been with a different pack member, that pack member would also have greeted Dad. I suspect Dad had been with the puppy and that Dad wandered off and left it. It took the puppy about twelve minutes to figure out that Dad had wandered off and to then find Dad. Dad could well have wandered off to teach the puppy to keep a better eye on him.
The puppy had another lesson to learn, that it had better pay attention to what Dad is paying attention to. Dad gave the puppy some little bites to calm it down. Dad was keeping an eye on my two dogs and me. The puppy didn’t figure that out until one of my dogs barked at a pedestrian. The last two segments of the video, taken after my dog barked, show the puppy’s ears at low camera left close to the edge of the frame. By now the puppy knew to be cautious.
29 Aug 2012 4 Comments
Mom, resting and waiting, wasn’t in the mood to play with her two yearlings. She went so far as to show them some teeth! Once again, they were waiting for their dusk rendezvous and Mom looked spent. This event marked the first time I’ve seen the two 2011 yearlings together, confirming my suspicion that Mom and Dad had two puppies last year. It took about a year for me to see just one of them.