“Waiting”, by Charles Wood

Friday I was surprised by a young coyote.  Its head emerged from brush as it moved into the clearing in which I was standing.  Unleashed, my dog, Holtz, rushed it.  The coyote turned around and disappeared instantly from whence it had come.  I called off Holtz and was relieved that he obeyed.  We removed ourselves from that area and won’t return.  A young coyote appearing is a pleasant surprise.  Dad within nip or bite range wouldn’t be a pleasant surprise.

We were west of the river in an Edison easement north of the main east-west street that separates my coyotes’ main field from the sanctuary area to the north.  My coyotes’ main field is east of the river, south of the main east-west street.  I’ve been unleashing my dog in the north-west easement for months as I take photographs of birds.  About 7 weeks ago Dad confronted us there, chasing us out.  Friday was the second time I’ve seen a coyote there.  It is possible that Friday’s young coyote was one of Dad’s.  It is also possible that young coyotes have regularly been in that area with me for weeks.  I never noticed, but my dog may have.

Holtz’s typical routine unleashed is to incompetently forage independently where ground squirrels hide upon our arrival and rabbits easily evade his probing.  I wander into and out of the brush and we keep tabs on each other.  Mostly we are on our own with Holtz being far and wide in the brush.  This typical routine changed a few weeks ago.  The ground squirrels hide, the rabbits evade yet Holtz has been staying with me, not venturing alone into the brush.  The change could be from hotter weather.  I’ve recognize the futility of Holtz’s approach to hunting, but doubt Holtz is on standby rethinking his methods.  His methods haven’t changed.  What has changed is that he applies them close to me and doesn’t let me out of his field of view.  It is possible that coyotes changed his routine.  Of course, this area is off limits to us now.  Sadly, the best places for my dog to live his instinctive life are excellent habitat for coyotes.

I don’t have enough evidence to state that my coyotes’ range extends west of the river.  I can state their range extends north into the sanctuary east of the river.

After quitting the north-west easement I walked east to the bridge whose underpass my coyotes use to go to and from the sanctuary to the north.  As I walked I saw a lone youngster in their main field south.  From the bridge looking north, a different youngster trotted past headed west and soon returned to the underpass area.  I was hoping to photograph it scooting beneath the gate heading south.  It noticed me and I noticed that Mom was also north with the youngster.  She had a bothered expression, prone in contrast to the youngster’s constant motion.

After quitting the bridge I walked south along the east side of the river.  Mom and her charge soon arrived south and I didn’t see other coyotes that evening.  Mom took a position that allowed north, south and east views down dirt roads.  She remained there until it became too dark for me to see them.  In the interim, she and the youngster continued to scan points north, south and east.  Eventually she laid down and continued her watch.  The youngster in contrast could not stay put.  It didn’t venture far from her.  I did observe it scatting the road.  In past observations it has been the parents I’ve seen marking, not youngsters, albeit that the parents’ contributions appeared more purposed and this youngster seemed more to be just passing time.

I did notice that a rabbit left the brush and positioned itself on the dirt road that runs east-west.  It did so as both Mom and the youngster watched.  They didn’t chase the rabbit.  Months ago I came across Mom motionless, prone on a dirt road with a rabbit, unaware of her, a few feet in front of her.  My impression was that in a moment or two she would have taken it had I not alerted the rabbit.  I’m not so sure that coyotes chase rabbits.  Seems like they would, but lying in wait may be more efficient.

It is becoming clearer to me that my coyotes disburse at some point during the day and rendezvous at dusk in the area pictured.  Mom and Dad know their jobs, the timing, contexts, risks and rewards.  They attend to business while the youngsters don’t seem to quite get it yet.

Posting written by Charles Wood. Visit Charles Wood’s website for these and more coyote photos: Charles Wood. His work is copyrighted and may only be used with his explicit permission.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Mom Keeps Vigilant While Youngsters Play « Coyote Yipps

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