Voles Are Hunted

Voles are prolific in the parks right now. As one walks along the paths, these little critters will dart across in front of you. Most of them are very fast so that all you see is dark shadows. But sometimes one will sit there, and you know his time will be up soon.

Hawks, owls, ravens, crows, and coyotes eat the voles, keeping the vole population under control.

I recently saw more hunting activity by a coyote. Although I have always seen a coyote “spot” its prey, today the coyote seemed to “sniff” out the vole.  When it found the right spot it began digging furiously. Finally it jumped up and dove head first for the incapacitating blow. There was a short “tossing” of and “toying” with the vole by the coyote.  In these photos the vole seems to stand up to the coyote, even though there is no chance for him, and the coyote actually seems interested in the vole as a “being” for a few seconds before eating him. Afterwards, the coyote went to the spot where it had caught the vole and urinated there. The coyote also smacked its lips — a gesture which often involves a communication beyond “just smacking its lips.” Just observations.

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