Scouting Around A Log

A coyote stops at a log to scout for a possible meal. The scrutiny was intense and thorough, but yielded nothing! I didn’t start the video until most of the exploring was already over, but you can see from the stills I took before the video that the coyote was all over the log. I didn’t see any digging, just poking and sniffing, so I assume it was scent and not sound that drew the coyote to the log.

Tip Toe!

Hunting takes planning and in this case that plan included moving ever so slowly, and ever so carefully and ever so softly. The coyote had been sitting watching one spot for several minutes, then got up and tip-toed to a better spot where it stood quietly and calmly for a long time — sometimes staring at the ground and turning its head, and sometimes just looking into the distance. Nothing came of it — the coyote was not rewarded for its quietness and patience.  I’m posting just a short clip with the careful tip-toe. I cut out the rest because I know the coyote has more patience in waiting for its meal than we might have in observing it!

Hunting and Hiding: Coyote behavior

This coyote was on to something, so I sat and watched. In fact, as I came upon the scene, there were two coyotes out, but one slithered off right away. This one must have been hungry. The “flying leap-nose-dive” is always the most exciting part of the hunt and I was able to see three of these fabulous springy leaps in a row. This coyote is a young one — under a year old. That may be why it took three leaps to disable its prey. I only caught the last and least of the jumps with my camera. The hunt and meal together lasted only four minutes. By the manner in which the coyote kept licking its chops when all was done, I could tell that it must have been a good catch.

After eating, the coyote more or less kept itself hidden from view. From its hiding places it kept an eye on me. If I had not seen the hunting beforehand, the coyote would have been difficult to spot — it stood so very  still “behind” cover. Within a short time it trotted off to the underbrush.

Fateful Encounters: Life and Death

Very occasionally I’ve seen the spoils of coyote encounters — pelts and skeletons and viscera that were left behind after a coyote, or several coyotes, had finished feasting. I have added these to show additional indirect signs of coyotes in an area — and to show more activities they engage in — activities that mean survival for them. What should be brought to mind is the interconnectedness and dependence of one life on another. An unexpected chance encounter at dawn between two creatures on different levels of the food chain might bring death to one, but it will enliven the other. So that one can live, the other must die. We tend to sympathize with the underdog, but nature sees things differently.

I show carcasses of a possum, a skunk, a raccoon, two semi-digested voles or mice that seem to have passed right through the digestive system, and yes, a cat skull. You can’t be sure how the cat died — older cats are vulnerable as prey to coyotes but also to raccoons — we have many more raccoons than we have coyotes. The raccoon remains were by a roadway, so probably it was hit by a car and already carrion by the time the coyote found it. Most adult raccoons can keep a coyote at bay.

There is a gopher and a squirrel being held by a coyote. These are eaten whole, for the most part — no spoils to be found. Then I have photos of a gopher hole where the coyote dug hard and deep to get its prey.

Wow, Look What’s Right Here: Coyote behavior

I watched this fellow laze around and then, while still “all lazed up” concentrate on what was right there at the tip of his nose. He remained in the same spot for some time, in his relaxed position, not getting up, tweaking his ears, turning his head, looking at the ground right at his nose tip. Then he got up and dug for about a minute before pouncing on his treasure. Too bad. He didn’t get anything — it was probably just too easy of a find!! Total duration of the “hunt” was about eight minutes: seven minutes of “triangulation” while remaining lying down, 40 seconds of digging, and then the leap and a few seconds of further digging before the resignation stance which showed defeat.