As A Rule, Dogs and Coyotes Don’t Like Each Other

Please see article on “Canines, Wild and Tame” written by JoLynn Taylor of WildCare. She states that  “dogs and coyotes don’t like each other.” This information is fundamental and needs to be known and understood by all dog owners so that they may act in their own and their dog’s best interest by keeping these two canines well apart. Please read about how easy it is to coexist with wildlife by simply following logical guidelines posted at the top of this blog.

Wild Turkey Behavior

I decided to post this here because I love animal behavior, and this here is so unusual. We are coexisting with more and more of our wildlife in urban and suburban areas. Next time you are afraid of a coyote, think of how much scarier a turkey might be! Coyotes in fact are very shy of humans and will do their utmost to avoid them. Take a look at the videos! and

Preserving Wildlife Habitat vs. A Native Plants Craze

I’ve been fighting to preserve wildlife habitat in our parks for a long time. This includes thickets, forests and underbrush, all of which are being removed and thinned as part of the present “native plant” craze. The native plants of California include mostly low lying grasses and dune plants. Those of us who care about the furry critters which inhabit non-native thickets have not been able to do too much about it. This is because furry critters are on no “endangered” lists. What IS on the endangered list are butterflies and damselflies. So habitats for them take precedence over what already is in place for harboring furry critters.

I think we all would like to see native plants preserved and prosper, but the program in our area is much too extreme: entire forests and thicket areas in our various parks are being removed simply because they are not native — even though they are beautiful and serve as habitats. They are being removed in favor of planting fragile native plants which provide little if any harbor for our furry wild critters. Here are a couple of articles, finally, backing what I have been advocating for so long! Also a couple of superb blogs loaded with relevant information on this same issue, and an analysis of the Scientific American article.

A Friend to Aliens – February 2011 – Scientific American

How alien invasion could save the Earth – 20 January 2011 – New Scientist

Mark Davis, A Friend To Aliens, Analysis

Interactions Have Become Predictable #3

In this posting, you have three different sets of interactions — each row across is a different set. In the first row, the dominant sibling approaches the more submissive guy. He displays his dominance initially by urinating. Then he approaches as overpowers the submissive guy. In the last slide of the first row, notice that Mom is calmly watching from the sidelines.

In the second row there is a display of oneupmanship by the dominant sibling. But then they seem to hunt together: each totally interested in what the other is doing. In the last photo of the second row they look like they are hunting peacefully side by side.

In the bottom row, the sequence begins with all three coyotes watching an onlooker and a dog-walker team in the distance. Then the dominating sibling, with hackles and tail up, approaches the less dominant fellow, who, in the last slide, runs off with head down and ears back.

Interactions Have Become Predictable #2

A family of three interacts in their habitual manner. In the top two rows, the submissive sibling is in the middle, with Mom on the right and the dominant sibling on the left. The submissive fellow keeps his ears back and somewhat together. He’s the one who puts his paw up on the dominant sibling in supplication: “hey, take it easy.”  The last photo of the middle row shows Mom reacting angrily to the dominant sibling, and he, in turn, reacting to her — each bares their teeth viciously, but only for show, for communicating feelings. This altercation ends quickly.

Bottom row: the submissive sibling, now in the middle, tries to assuage Mom’s anger. In the middle slide, this submissive fellow has moved to the right keeping a vigilant eye on the dominant sibling to the left — notice his eyes. In the last slide, with Mom safely off to the far right, the bullying sibling in the middle feels free to go after the more submissive fellow who snaps back. They all then moved apart and there were no more interactions.

Interactions Have Become Predictable #1

Here, Mom and one of her offspring, the more submissive of two siblings, watch dogs approaching in the distance — a common coyote activity. At one point, the offspring looks intently at Mom: visual communication is common — coyotes read each other through eye contact, expressions, and body language. When the more dominant sibling approaches — he’s the one standing to the right in slide #3, the more submissive sibling heads off about 50 feet and sits in the distance with his ears down — a submissive sign showing that he is not a threat. He does not want to tangle with his more dominant sibling.

“Self Directed”, by Charles Wood

At twilight Monday I saw the larger of the two youngsters in my coyotes’ Los Angeles area field.  It was the third sighting over three consecutive days.  Each time she was apparently alone.  I watched her from the river bank on both Saturday and Sunday.  Both of those days she was in transit on her north-south dirt road.  Saturday I was with Holtz, my friend and her German Shepard.  The youngster came from the east, arrived at the north-south road and turned south. Upon spotting us, the youngster sat and stared until we left.  Sunday, before twilight, she came into view traveling north on the dirt road.  She saw Holtz and me standing on the river bank.  She seemed more relaxed.  After a few minutes she even pounced for a rodent, probed for it, but with no luck.  Eventually she headed north and took a dirt road to the east.

Monday Holtz and I arrived before twilight and stood on the dirt road looking south.  At twilight I saw her headed towards us on the that dirt road.  She stopped, stared straight at us, looked to her right and yawned.  She then came directly towards us, stopped about 100 feet away and marked.  She kept that distance, investigated the area around her and then headed west to stand atop a pile of large rocks.  She then trotted south, going past the road that heads east.  As we left I saw her quickly going east on that road, having doubled back to do so.

This young female is about nine months old.  A few months ago in similar encounters, accompanied by her mother and father, she didn’t seem to have a clue about how to handle Holtz and me.  At that time her parents behaved much as she did today.  Her parents were assertive, yet the youngster was either playing or scared and seeking safety either from her parents or from flight.  Monday she seemed as self-directed, assertive and purposed as an adult coyote.

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.

A Coyote Family – Dynamics

I found this family of three coyotes together — a rare sighting lately, but I’ve seen it several times in the last few days. There is a mother and her two 21-month-old male offspring who are working out their relationships.

Loud Growling, And Being His Own Man

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a coyote hurry by, obscured by the dead thistle growth from last year. That is not so unusual for me — I see coyotes often enough. But then I heard something I have heard only a couple of times before and only very faintly: defensive growling — it was intense this time! I looked over and saw a more dominant coyote sibling bullying his more submissive sibling. The more submissive brother skulked off, as usual, but he also growled and snapped in self-defense. And then he hung around — he was not going to be forced to leave this time!  The last photo shows him shortly after the incident, after the dominating sibling departed. This fellow hung around, relaxing and enjoying the turf instead of fleeing. We’ve been rooting for this underdog.

The Push/Pull Of Independence

Here a coyote youngster backed into a thicket area for protection after a dog had tried coming after him. Mom had been close by and ran to the rescue. She positioned herself out front, where she sat vigilantly, just in case another dog tried coming up again. These two coyotes remained like this for over five minutes: the mom out in front on guard, and the youngster curled up in the background, protected, within the edge of the thicket.

When the dogs had moved on, the youngster decided to emerge, at which point Mom began walking away, leading the way as if she expected the youngster to follow. But no. The youngster planted himself close to where his mother had been, and continued watching for another several minutes. When no more dogs appeared, the younger coyote, too, moved on.

Golf Courses As Havens For Wildlife!

Scott Morrison has a blog promoting environmental consciousness on golf courses: habitat and wildlife are a big part of this.  He asked me to write a few words about coyotes, which I was very happy to do:  Wildlife In Focus: Coyotes. Please visit his blog at Thank you, Scott, for standing up for a greener world and a balanced environment which includes wildlife generally, and coyotes specifically!

On this posting, Scott has included a video by David Phipps of Stone Creek GC. The video shows the discovery, on a golf course, of prey which was discreetly buried by a coyote. Coyotes will sometimes bury prey for eating at a later date.

A Slow Squirrel Is Finally Caught

After all of the failures at attempting to catch a squirrel, this coyote finally met with success. The squirrel was killed quickly, the bones were crushed, and then the entire animal was downed whole — every bit of it except the two-inch end of the tail. Coyotes are not wasteful.

No Waste: Consuming Every Bit

Although there have been occasions when I’ve seen small prey tossed aside, or maybe the head and an organ left behind, for the most part, coyotes efficiently down an entire rodent. Entirely. No waste. I’ve seen this even if the rodent is the size of a large squirrel or large gopher — say, about a pound or so. The prey is quickly killed, probably in the neck area, and then the dead animal is “crunched” repeatedly. This crunching breaks the larger bones and compresses them so that the entire animal can then be swallowed whole in a series of gulps. The prey is not usually torn apart. The head always goes down first.

In this sequence of photos I missed the initial very high pounce of the coyote — the blow that incapacitated its prey. The entire procedure from catching its prey to licking it’s chops took about one minute. The second-to-the-last slide shows the coyote marking by urinating at, or close to, the spot where it ate before moving on.

When the prey is larger, such as a raccoon, skunk or rabbit, the prey has to be torn apart in order to get the parts down, and not everything from large prey will necessarily be eaten. Most of what I’ve seen coyotes eat consists of small rodents such as voles and gophers. Once, I did see a rat — a small rodent — torn apart rather than eaten whole.

Messaging To Dogs, by Charles Wood

I was excited to see one of the youngsters in its field Saturday here in Los Angeles.  My dog Holtz and I were on the river bank and the youngster scratched dirt as it passed by in front of us on its road.  The image quality is poor for it having been after sunset.  After passing us it walked on a ways and then sat in its road to wait.  I assumed it was waiting for us to leave, and we did.  Another picture, not shown, suggests that several yards from the sitting youngster was another coyote.  We are well into January 2011 and at least one youngster hasn’t dispersed.  It acts towards Holtz and me much as its parents do, sending territorial messages upon seeing us.

Sunday, in a different field near Pacific Coast Highway, I took two pictures of a coyote that appeared to be messaging Holtz by marking.  Holtz was leashed.  There were other people who didn’t have dogs who were already watching the coyote when Holtz and I came into the coyote’s view.  I noticed the people and then I saw the coyote.  The coyote didn’t poop until Holtz and I were in its view.  Holtz sat at my side calmly and watched.  The coyote looked at us and slowly walked away.  Another coyote was barking in the distance.  At other times, I’ve heard this group of coyotes really get going with the hollering when a siren passes by.

A few years ago I would have thought that the pooping was a coincidence, that I had accidentally arrived at just the moment when the coyote had decided to attend to its necessaries.  Now I’m inclined to see its poop timing as territorial and dog directed.  A few years ago I would also have mistaken its look at us as friendly.  After all, it is seemingly smiling like a dog.  It may be smiling, but if so, not invitingly.  Instead it is probably well satisfied by having told us so competently to stay away.  This field, large and rodent filled, will have coyotes in it until it is paved or otherwise developed.  Great Blue Herons also regularly dine on its rodents, a Northern Harrier hunts there and occasionally harasses the Herons, several Red-tailed Hawks hunt there, last year’s Great Horned Owl pair is rumored to be back, a Burrowing Owl is present as are American Kestrels, a White-tailed Kite, Cooper’s Hawks, White-crowned Sparrows, California Towhees, House Finches, and at least one rattlesnake.

I heard from one man and from one account on a Flicker blog that the City, perhaps as long as two years ago, had trapped and destroyed the coyote group that was previously in this same area, responding to complaints from the neighborhood.  I haven’t confirmed this as more than ‘talk’.  Several years ago there did seem to be more coyotes in that area and if they were removed, new coyotes soon replaced them.  A photographer there claims to have a recent picture of a male and female in that field coupling.

I’ve been enjoying Janet’s posts, though one with some discomfort.  I am hoping that Janet doesn’t encounter the dominant guy and its mother doing, well, you know, please not that…not that!  Maybe a legitimate male will show up.  I’m rooting for it!

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.

What To Do With A Long Strip Of Tree Bark?

If something like this were to appear in your path, you might be inclined to look at it, grab it, move it and then, after some thought, abandon it as not being too interesting after all. A good long bored yawn might cap off the “encounter.”

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