A Few Hours of Morning Rest: Coyote behavior

I am going to describe two and a half hours of one coyote’s mostly-restful morning. The coyote moved four times after I saw it. Its “on the go” times were 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 20 minutes and 10 minutes. It stayed 15 minutes in the first location, an hour in the second location, 4 minutes overlooking the park and then disappeared into the brush. Here are the details:

At 6:30, before my camera would even operate, a coyote appeared suddenly below the path, fairly close. I think it had come in my direction because of a dog — a calm dog who does not chase coyotes. It sat on the slope of the hill, facing downhill, and looked at us over its back. Then, within only a few moments, it ran off into the brush. About five moments later it re-appeared again much further down the hill. We walked around to this area, a 10 minute walk, to find the coyote still sitting where I had last seen it. My walking friend and dog departed and I stuck around for the light to get better as the day progressed — maybe I would get some photos before the coyote slithered into the underbrush. The coyote had been resting here for about 15 minutes.

At 6:49 the coyote suddenly took off up the hill, to a wooded area next to some wooden stairs. I lost the coyote for about 20 minutes. During this time it probably wandered some more, and may have foraged, but I can’t be sure. It re-appeared sitting on the path a ways in front of me. The wooded area above this path is fairly secluded and shaded, not close to the path. Most people and dogs would miss seeing a coyote here, unless they were actually looking for it. After wandering up to this wooded area, the coyote remained here for the next hour:

  • 7:15 eats some grass
  • 7:25-7:30 lies down
  • 7:30-7:43 sits up and is “on the lookout” because a group of walkers and dogs have approached. These are dogs that have chased the coyote in the past. I am asked if the coyote is around and I nod. They see the coyote, then leash up. The coyote hurries up to be closer to an escape route, but remained in view. After the group has left, the coyote returns to its former resting spot.
  • 7:45-8:05 lying down again, eyes closing and head nodding, off-and-on
  • 8:15 again on the lookout as various individual dog walkers pass below — none sees the coyote. At 8:17 the coyote  yawns and at 8:23 it gets up and stretches, and then takes a bite of a twig

At 8:25 the coyote starts to wander, keeping itself interspersedly occupied:

  • 8:27-8:30 hops on a tree stump with all four legs — apparently the coyote likes the tree stump because it remains here a full three minutes, looking around.  Then it continues its walk
  • 8:38-8:42 it stalks a cat, initially staring at it and then moving ever so slowly and quietly towards it — “cat-fashion”, and then suddenly dashes in. Cats are too fast for coyotes to catch unless they are old or ill. The cat easily lost the coyote.
  • 8:45 the coyote urinates and continues on, wandering in an easy manner.
  • 8:46-8:50 the coyote has reached a rock outcropping, which it lithely runs up, and then over to the furthest ledge. Here the coyote remains, scoping out the wide swath of park below
  • 8:50 the coyote suddenly runs down the rocks, then trots briskly through the wooded area and down a hill towards a little rise on the hill below. The coyote sits here for just a few moments observing the lack of activity below, yawns at 8:56 and then disappears into the brush for the day at 9:00

I noted a lot of scratching during this time frame:  at 7:12, 7:33, 7:43 and 8:19.

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