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.
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.
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!