“Two Youngsters, Two Temperaments”, by Charles Wood

It has been some time since I entered the Los Angeles area field that is home to Mom, Dad and at least two of their approximately eight month old youngsters.  My doing so provokes them because, for reasons, they particularly dislike my dog and me.  It had been a long time since I had seen Dad or a youngster, although I had seen Mom a few times since the beginning of October 2010.  I decided it was time to draw them out regardless of their feelings, hoping to get a count of the coyotes present in the field.  I entered the field just at sunset.

I approached their nest area accompanied by my dog Holtz.  Youngster the Bold, who I suspect is female, showed herself and stood her ground, pictured in FirstContact.  As I got closer she sat, and when I got closer yet she began a dirt scraping display which ended with a yawn.  After the yawn, I walked closer.  After some hesitation she began a second dirt scrape display.  It was becoming darker and Youngster the Bold stared in various directions.  I assumed she was looking for backup.  Then we all saw another youngster come out of the nest area.  It apparently didn’t see me and busied itself eating something it found in the field.  After a few chews it looked in my direction.  Youngster the Shy then scurried back into the brush.  I decided to leave because the light was becoming too dim for safety.

As I walked north on the road, Youngster the Bold followed.  Then backup arrived, both Mom and Dad.  They were displeased.  It took about one minute for Mom and Dad to assess the circumstances and begin dirt scraping and marking.  Mom then charged across our bow, coming within about 25 feet.  I stopped taking pictures.  Holtz, with four coyotes present, three visible, was unassertive and I kept his leash to about a yard.  We were headed north and Mom and Dad were headed south.  I stomped at Mom and she withdrew to Dad’s position about 40 yards away.  We began to walk which encouraged Mom and Dad to again approach, an approach I stopped with some sharp yells.  They gave us space to walk by, although they followed at a distance to be sure we kept moving away.

I’m pleased to have seen that there are two youngsters, to know that they haven’t yet dispersed and to have observed the difference in their temperaments.  I’m glad to know that Mom and Dad are still paired, and to have seen Dad with his winter coat.  That said, it is a particularly bad practice to deliberately provoke a confrontation with four coyotes in their home range, a practice I’m reluctant to use other than sparingly.

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.

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