Eyes And Ears, by Charles Wood

Today Holtz and I came across a new coyote.  We were all in an easement north west across the river from my Los Angeles area coyotes’ main field.  I’ve seen members of my group only occasionally in the easement I visited today.  Holtz was off leash as we walked.  A little ahead of me, he spotted something close by and out of my view.  Holtz made a dash for it.  I called him back, leashed him and walked over to see what, on the other side of a large tumbleweed, he had encountered.  I saw a female coyote, older and larger than any of mine, exiting the easement to trot off south down the riverbed.  We followed her for a block and a half as she boldly traveled the asphalt path along the river.  A jogger was ahead of her, and the “New One” photograph shows her as a confident animal who continued to move toward the stopped jogger as he, well, what?

I was in that area earlier in January with Holtz off leash.  He was to my north foraging in brush, out of my sight, when he started barking.  I recognized his bark as the kind he uses on dogs.  In mid bark he yelped once and went silent.  I called him, moving north.  He didn’t come.  I stopped and wondered which way to go.  I worried.  Holtz then came out of the brush to my south, pleased with himself.  I wondered how he got to my rear and why.  I guessed he had encountered a coyote and found it wasn’t intimidated by his bark.  I guessed that he learned a coyote can quickly maneuver and inflict a thump.  I believed my calls and movement encouraged the coyote to run south.  Holtz probably chased the coyote at the pace Holtz uses when he really doesn’t want to catch up.

It is difficult to interpret canine sounds, especially when they aren’t in view.  Today Holt’s demeanor suggested he saw a coyote and I was able to confirm such by sighting it myself.  In contrast, with only my ears to rely on, I can only speculate based on how well I know the meanings communicated by my dog’s various vocalizations.  When the event is over the only debriefing I get from my dog comes from trying to assess his body language.

After we stopped following the new coyote today we went to my coyotes’ field.  I was lucky enough to spot the smaller of the two youngsters.  It’s timid and upon seeing us headed straight into the brush.  I last saw it six weeks ago, which was also when I last saw Mom and Dad.  The larger youngster I saw three times a week or so ago.  Apparently there is a place in this world for large bold coyotes and small timid ones.  Who could have predicted that of the seven pups these two so very different ones would become the survivors?

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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