“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

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

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Small Chihuahua Grabbed by Red Tail Hawk in a Central SF Park

I wasn’t there, but a friend told me that about two weeks ago, in one of the small lawn parks in the city of San Francisco, a Red-Tail Hawk swooped down low, grabbed a small chihuahua, and took off with it. The dog was the color and size of a large gopher I was told. The park was full of dogs and people, prime walking time at 8:30 in the morning. The owner screamed in horror, and the rest of the folks looked on in amazement and disbelief. Nothing could be done.

This story is a repeat of one published by Out walking the dog. Her story is excellent, and I have her permission to republish here:

City Hawk Snatches Chihuahua?

Scroll down to see the final image …

Hawk stares at dead rat dinner

Hawk stares at dead rat dinner

In February, I watched a red-tailed hawk eat a rat in the bare branches of a tree in Riverside Park.

A man stopped to watch with me.  A few minutes later, a woman walking a small dog asked what we were looking at.  When I told her, she said, “I used to think the city’s hawks were magnificent. Now if I had a gun, I would shoot them.”

“Why?” I asked, startled by her ferocity.

She told us a story:  One clear summer day, as she walked in the park, she saw a group of picnickers happily barbecuing and enjoying life up near 125th Street.  Suddenly a red-tailed hawk swooped low, picked up a tiny chihuahua in its talons, and soared north along the river, as the bereft owner wailed.

“It was amazing how far you could see him flying,”  she said, “with the pink leash dangling behind.”

Since then, she hates hawks.

I think I understand.  I’d certainly be devastated – and possibly unforgiving – if a predator ate my beloved dog (it would have to be some kind of prehistorically large pterosaur to choke down Esau).  But as a fellow hawk watcher said, “It’s a wild animal. It doesn’t share our morals. That’s the way it is.”

He’s right, of course, except that we don’t share our morals, either.  We declare some animals all right to eat and others off limits.  There’s no natural law to this; it’s a cultural thing (some cultures eat horses and dogs; we don’t) and an individual choice.

Some pigs, for example, are pets, and some pigs are meat

Surely it’s a bit much to expect wild creatures to distinguish pets from prey, when the distinction is essentially arbitrary.

Saint John's nest rests on the shoulders of a suffering saint. Photo by rbs, Bloomingdale Village blog

Saint John’s nest rests on the shoulders of a suffering saint. Photo by rbs, Bloomingdale Village blog

If this story is true (and even if it isn’t), it brings up the fascinating issue of human-wildlife conflict in urban centers.  New York City’s raptor population, once virtually nonexistent, is growing larger.  Eggs have just hatched in the Riverside Park nest as well as in the peregrine nest down on Water Street.  We’re waiting to hear about the picturesque nest at Saint John the Divine.

And any day now, the numerous other hawk and falcon nests all over the five boroughs will be home to eyasses.

Life is tough for young city hawks, and the majority will not survive to adulthood.  Rat poison, cars and disease will take a toll. But each year, enough babies survive to expand the numbers of predatory fliers in the skies over New York City.  They’ll be soaring over the streets and parks, looking for meals, and tiny dogs and cats look at least as tasty as any rat, squirrel or pigeon.  Like our suburban neighbors who are losing pets to coyotes, this story offers a reminder that we may need to adjust our behavior to accommodate the return of the wild.  So if you love your cats, better to keep them inside where they can be neither prey nor predator (songbirds will thank you).  And if you love your tiny dogs, keep them leashed and under your watchful eye, at least when strolling in Riverside Park.

I couldn’t shake the image of the hawk carrying off the poor little dog with the pink leash, so I asked my friend,  Charlotte Hildebrand, to paint an illustration for me.  And she did. This painting arrived with today’s mail.  Thank you, Charlotte.

Painting by Charlotte Hildebrant

Painting by Charlotte Hildebrant from the book: “Still the Same Hawk, Reflections on Nature and New York”, published by Fordham University Press, 2013

To Spike, by Charles Wood

Occasionally I like to publish something not having to do with coyotes.  I’m hoping you all enjoy this as much as I did.

A couple years ago there was a cockatiel at my nearby park. I took photos of him(?) for as long as he was around there in the wild. One day he just wasn’t there. Maybe it was the park cat that got him, maybe a Cooper’s hawk, maybe he moved on. But last week I finally got around to writing a eulogy for Spike. I hoped that you might enjoy it. It is heartfelt, but there is some humor interspersed because he, after all, was a ‘mere’ bird.

Spike with his flock

Spike with his flock

I know neither for how long he was able to live his natural and intended life among his wild cousins, nor how old he might have become. All I do know is that for exquisite and incomparable moments he was free. The cage abandoned, he used that freedom not solely for his own will. Instead Spike made many friends. He adopted a flock, more so than they having adopted him, and he became their early warning system. Though the flock measured their own distance from Spike, Spike nevertheless was always first to call the alarm and take flight from danger, whether that danger came from the air or from the ground. Spike devoted himself not just to his own safety, but to the safety of his entire group.

We don’t know how Spike spent what were to be the final hours of his short life. We can imagine that day to have been for him like any other. Rising with the sun to preen with his compatriots and exchange greetings, ever watchfully searching for sustenance, and enjoying the many breaks he gave himself during his busy day: these acts were the fabric of his typical day.

All I know for certain is that Spike is gone, his watchfulness silenced, his chirping stilled forever. Somewhere a broken hearted child grieved for Spike having found his freedom from his cage. To that child I say, “Spike lived on”. I too grieve for Spike’s passing from my life. Yet Spike lives on. He lives in the gift he left us, the gift of his example of a life well lived.

Here is a link to the folio where Charles has Spike’s pictures online: http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=1013984

Spike

Spike

Dangers in the park

Dangers in the park

 

Coyote at Burning Man, by Bryan Tedrick

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I’m happy to include this piece of art in the blog. I think it is fantastic! I asked Bryan if he would write something about it and this is what he sent:

To understand why I made “Coyote” you first must have some idea of what Burning Man is. The festival takes place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada and is attended by thousands of people who enjoy open spaces and the freedom to live freely, not unlike Coyotes themselves.

2013 was the 5th year of my receiving an art grant from Burning Man. In past work for Burning Man I had made insects, birds, snakes and architectural pieces but never a four legged animal. I am a professional sculptor and some of my most successful work includes life-sized horses, a bull, and a lion.

I decided to build “Coyote”, but on a monumental scale, for the event as it seemed the natural four legged animal given the context. At 26′ tall, this giant beast is climbable and has a rotating head that can turn into the wind. Weighing in at 7 tons, this steel and stainless steel creature will be with us for many years to come, as I am sure wild coyotes will be too.  

Bryan Tedrick

A Father Coyote Feeds His Pups

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.

FAUNA: An Exhibit in LA

Charlotte Fauna 2013-08-09Charlotte Hildebrand, who has contributed to this blog, and Margaret Gallagher have a new, and very interesting, exhibit up in the LA area!

Their work shows the complex relationship between humans and wild animals in our cities. Of interest to all of us who have read Charlotte’s stories on this blog is her freshly created zine based on the story about her neighbor who feeds a coyote, 6 skunks, possums and raccoons, 3 crows, a dozen cats and possibly her wayward husband! Margaret’s work, in watercolor and ink, shows outsized and impossibly placed animals in an urban setting.

The show is to benefit the California Wildlife Center, a rehabilitation center for wild animals in LA and sea life along the California shore. There will be lots to look at and purchase!  The exhibit is being held on August 24th, from 7-10, at Perhspace which is an alternative music venue found on the edge of downtown LA, at Glendale Blvd and Temple.

COYOTE MAN, A Creative Piece by Charlotte Hildebrand

Sitting at my table, with the windows wide, I hear my neighbor talking to the coyote, who has suddenly appeared in her backyard. “Come here, come here, my beautiful boy!” she murmurs. But I don’t believe her; it’s not a boy and she knows it. The coyote started coming around a few years ago, after her husband died, looking for handouts. I never thought about it before, but of course! It makes perfect sense. The coyote isn’t a boy, it’s her husband.

2013-07-17 (2)My neighbor used to feed the wild animals at the edge of the forest during the war. As a young girl, she left bread crumbs behind, when the family was forced to flee as refugees. Here, on the edge of the city, she feeds the coyote, skunks, possums, stray cats, raccoons. She feeds three fat crows perched on top of her garage, carrying on like the Marx Brothers. They hop around, cawing ceaselessly, then down to the ground next to the bowl of cat food and chase the cats away. These crows are as big as dogs; the cats don’t stand a chance.

At first i thought my neighbor must be feeding all the animals cat food, but the more I observe her, the more I think it’s real meat. Tonight, for instance, i could sware she fed the coyote a steak, specifically a rib-eye. Her husband used to love those steaks.

2013-07-17 (3)After dinner, my neighbor comes out with a mat and places it on the grass. Come here, come here, she begs her husband and pats the mat. I think she’s going to lie down, but she steps away. I turn my back and when i look again the coyote’s lying on the mat licking its paws, giving my neighbor moon eyes, following her with his gaze around the yard. They’re bonded to each other in a very deep way, these two. This man and wife.
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2013-07-17At 7pm, the lights go out, another brownout up here on the city’s edge. An hour goes by, it grows dark, I can’t see a thing. Then as my eyes adjust, I see some shadowy figures take shape next door. The skunk that comes around this time of night, and the coyote a little off to the side, dancing around each other. Coyote sits still and watches the skunk freak out, with its tail straight up in the air. Skunk keeps one eye on the coyote and one on the food bowl. I’ve seen this dance before, the coyote letting the skunk come and go, not at all interested.

2013-07-17 (1)Perhaps the coyote has already forgotten his wild ways, although, if it’s true he’s my neighbor’s husband, he’ll rip your throat out faster than a surprised skunk can spray, faster than crows can caw, faster than a coyote can turn into a man and back again. I wouldn’t call that exactly tame. You can never be sure with wild animals.

[Charlotte Hildebrand is an artist and writer. This original piece can be found on her blog, The Rat's Nest, along with more of her creative writing]

Great Blue Heron – Cormorants – Running Away From Home

the eucalyptus tree

the eucalyptus tree

Here is more wildlife, aside from the coyotes.

I went to see the Great Blue Heron nest in the Eucalyptus tree on Lake Merced. The “nativists” will have you believe that the Eucalyptus are useless for wildlife and that “they are fire hazards which must be removed.” These folks seem to have their “eyes wide shut”. We have found hawks, owls, cormorants, Great Blue Herons, monarch butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, bats and countless songbirds live in these trees. And as for fire, the Eucalyptus were planted as a windbreak which serves to *prevent* fires! We’ve had no forest fires in San Francisco, but we have had grass and brush fires — and the surrounding Eucalyptus did not burn! Nativists want to replace trees with grasses.

There were about 12 cormorant nests in the Eucalyptus tree — yes, all in ONE tree — with chicks in various stages of development, including a mom sitting on her unhatched eggs, so I watched them as well as the Great Blue Heron nest.

The Great Blue Heron nest had three large nestlings. They sat low, stood up, groomed, stretched their wings, stretched their necks, looked at me, pooped, yawned, made a strange sound which I can’t even begin to describe, picked bugs off one another and grabbed each other’s beaks. They were pretty calm and subdued. No adults were in sight. Where was Mom?

the active cormorants

the active cormorants

The cormorant parents, on the other hand, were omnipresent and extremely busy. When new nesting material and food were brought home by one cormorant parent, the other took off to gather the same stuff, and while the one parent was out collecting supplies, the other parent stayed home. It went like clockwork.

A few sunbathed and a few spread their wings to dry — they don’t have the oils on their feathers that other waterbirds have, so they must allow their wings to dry out and they do so by holding them out parallel to their bodies. There was an entire cormorant village active up there in that tree.

neck stretched up

neck stretched up

After a full hour of my watching the chicks, Mom Blue Heron finally made an appearance. The chicks had not seen her approach, but their energy picked up and the excitement began when they saw her finally arrive — her return marked the beginning of a feeding frenzy. She stood on the edge of the nest and extended her head and her long neck up. She just stood there like this, seemingly inactive.  I wondered why she didn’t get busy and feed the kids.

biggest nestling goes for it

biggest nestling goes for it

Then the biggest of the three chicks also stretched up high, next to Mom — he was impatient. The other two remained crouched low with beaks up, in the “feed me” position. But the one now standing next to Mom grabbed her beak as best he could with his own long and seemingly clunky beak — the beak worked like clumsy chop sticks. The chick seemed to be trying to pull Mom’s bill down. And soon, he seemed to succeed — Mom, too, bent over.

the huddle

the huddle

I don’t know if the stretching fellow actually pulled her down, or simply directed Mom’s bill into his, and I couldn’t tell if he was successful in getting the fish. I know there was a large fish because I saw the tail fin. It’s when all four herons were all huddled down — forming a football huddle — that most of the feeding occurred. I could not see the feeding.

feeding

feeding

This scene was repeated over and over, so I’m assuming Mom had carried at least 3 large fish in her belly for them. In fact, when she was doing nothing but stretching her neck up in the air, when she first arrived, she may have been attempting to regurgitate the fish to feed the youngsters. When her supply was gone, she turned around and flew off.

The chicks began to groom again, but soon they settled down to wait . . . and yawn, and stretch their wings, and look at me . . . .

active cormorants

active cormorants

The cormorants continued their activity, with food being brought every few minutes to both youngsters and to mothers sitting atop eggs. Also, nesting material was constantly brought in. The cormorants were consistently on the move, except those drying themselves in the sun.

It appeared to me — in my imagination — that the herons became disgruntled and discouraged — or, maybe it was me.  After waiting almost another hour, they had huddled together on the opposite side from the spot where Mom had landed and departed. I imagined them plotting their flight from the coop to find a more attentive Mom. The thought occurred to me only because the cormorants were omnipresent and giving full attention to the youngsters.  Then, though, I thought of the time my siblings and I plotted our own getaway . . .

waiting

waiting

We had been ousted from the house — I have no idea why — probably we were being too noisy — but it was drizzling and cold outside . . . So, did this constitute child abuse — at least mistreatment? We hung on the yard gym and talked and discussed it. My older brother suddenly announced he was going to run away from home. It sounded brave, daring and exciting. “But where would you go?”  I asked him. He sounded so definite, like he really might know what he was talking about. He said he would go to Barney’s — that was our grandfather. I wondered how on earth he knew how to get there — he was 8, I was 6 and my sister was 5. I didn’t want to be left out of such a plan, even though I knew I didn’t have the capacity to carry it out.  So I said, “Yes, I’m going too.”  “NO”, he answered in a very definite tone. I couldn’t come with him. He was going alone. OK. I still didn’t want to be left out. I tried thinking of a place I could go. Oh, yes. I’ll go to Uncle Clyde’s . . . Younger sister Debby, too, tried to think of where she could go. She knew that if I couldn’t go with Robby, neither could she, and neither could she come with me. The rule had been set by my brother, as the eldest. Ah, yes. Debby decided on Wright Kirk’s place — this was her godfather. I think these were all the *relatives* in the world that we possessed.

waiting while cormorants leave & return with food

waiting while cormorants leave & return with food

My brother took punishment much harder than the rest of us. He was the eldest and often the leader, but may have felt he had done nothing to deserve this. He was really hurt/incensed by this *mistreatment*, whereas I accepted what came. We were often punished together as the “gang of three” instead of as individuals. My mother had a short fuse and I had come to accept that. So for me, I was following Robby’s lead, not out of a feeling of having been abused, but for the thrill of it and to keep up. I had heard about running away before — isn’t that what the little Lost Boys did in Peter Pan? Of course the plan was utterly impossible, but the magic of the moment stuck with me because I’ve always remembered our planning as a positive event.

My mother got over her mad and we were allowed back into the house. None of us had any intention of running away. We were whiling away the time — and also angry ourselves — secretly spinning a sort of imaginary retribution which would never be fulfilled. It was much too scary and anxiety-provoking for little kids. Nonetheless it brought us kids closer together to cope with parents, and for me it had turned a *punishment* into a fond and memorable event.

I digress. . .  I looked up at the herons: *I* was the one waiting for Mom Heron to return to the nest — it had been an hour since the last feeding. Suddenly all three chicks hurried to the side of the nest from which Mom had departed. They looked excited, attentive, with their beaks agape. This time they saw her coming. I had my camera ready. “Mom, Mom, MOM . . . ” I could hear them yelling in my imagination. Actually, they were totally quiet. And then, there she was, and the frenzy-feeding repeated itself.

Mommmmm!!!

Mommmmm!!!

Nesting Season: Finding and Testing Building Materials

Sometimes I like posting about something different than coyotes. I found a tiny little Bushtit — 3.5 inches from tip of the beak to tip of the tail — searching for, finding, and testing building materials for it’s nest.  The materials did not pass muster, and were abandoned. Birds have very high standards for their young.

Poison Prevention Week: March 17-23

Young predators are especially vulnerable to poisons. They are brought poisoned rodents by their parents

Young predators are especially vulnerable to poisons. They are brought poisoned rodents by their parents

We have a National Poison Prevention Week the third week in March of each year to increase awareness and prevent human poisonings. I am reminded of this by the WildCare Newsletter.

National Poison Prevention Week serves as a reminder to all of us that animals, too, are being poisoned all the time. It is the young animals which are most vulnerable — just like with humans. Below is a link to the WildCare page on what is happening to wildlife because of the rat poisons which humans use.

Let’s stop using poisons to kill any animals. There are other solutions, including high pitch beepers, which will disperse unwanted animals non-lethally. Please visit the link below and consider making a donation to WildCare.

http://www.wildcarebayarea.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Animal_Emails_Rodenticide_Results_February_2013

Coyotes Finally Reveal Themselves to Me, by Kevin Shoban

Kevin

In August of 2012 I went on a trip with my girlfriend to McCall, Idaho. We did a lot of hiking through the lush forests, and being aware there were wolves around was a very humbling and exciting experience. Although we didn’t see any wolves on our trip, our last morning hike ended when we stumbled upon a freshly killed deer. The sight was both amazing and terrifying. Knowing wolves and other animals come back for their kills to snack upon, we turned around and cautiously walked back to our cabin.

When we returned home to the San Francisco Bay Area, I was obsessed with wolves, but soon realized I wouldn’t have any chance to see them in their natural habitat anytime soon. A few days later I came across a story about coyotes living in San Francisco’s, Golden Gate Park. I was quickly intrigued and woke up at 4am the next morning to drive to San Francisco to get my first look at a wild coyote. I stayed in San Francisco all day but didn’t see any coyotes, but heard one yapping later that afternoon in the park as I walked back to my car.

Since then I have been exploring the Nature Preserves up and down the San Francisco Bay Area. After a couple months searching for coyotes, I came across my first one in Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto, CA. We both stopped and stared at each other for a good two minutes before the animal continued on it’s way and I headed home.

Since then I have been hooked on coyotes and wildlife in general. I go out to the Preserves 2-3 times times per week with my trusty camera and take all the photos and videos I can gather of anything from hummingbirds, to deer, to coyotes, and everything else in between.

When I started my journey to find a coyote, I went to the preserves almost every day for three months but never saw a single coyote. It was easy to think I would never see one, yet I stayed persistent. It almost feels as if it were a test. If I really wanted to see a coyote, I had to work for it. I had to gain some sort of trust from the wilderness and coyotes before they revealed themselves to me, because after I saw my first coyote, I quickly saw another, and another. Now I see coyotes almost every time I go out into nature, and it is a rewarding, exhilarating experience which makes my day, every time I see one.

For more of Kevin’s photography, please visit his site: http://kshoban.tumblr.com/

Stop the Coyote Hunting Contest in Modoc County, CA

coyote on a rock

coyote on a rock

Please sign the petition to stop the wanton slaughter of coyotes at the Coyote Hunting Contest for Modoc County, CA which is scheduled to begin February 8 through February 10, 2013.  Press HERE to sign.

Update: Coyote Killing Contest

You and thousands of other people signed petitions speaking out against “Coyote Drive 2013,” a coyote killing contest in Modoc County, California.

Despite our efforts, however, the hunt went forward. We do not yet know how many coyotes were killed.

This “contest” was not only cruel, it was also futile and counter-productive. Scientific evidence shows that culling coyotes often has the opposite effect from the one intended.

After hunters finish their shooting, coyote populations adjust. More females will mate, and they’ll have larger litters. And more pups survive. Killing coyotes only breeds more coyotes.

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