Dad and His Two Daughters, by Charles Wood

Before sunset today, as I stood on the river bank that borders my Los Angeles coyotes’ field, three of them went by. The bold daughter came first. Three minutes later I saw a park ranger’s car driving in the area where the coyotes were headed. A minute later Dad stopped to stare before following the bold daughter. Three minutes after that the shy daughter went by.

I didn’t see Mom today, nor did I see any puppies. It is significant to me to have confirmed that two siblings remain with their parents, both about a year old. Mom is lactating and there are new puppies in that field. Getting a look at them is another matter. The park ranger said he was looking in the field for two boys. The boys had been fishing where they shouldn’t have been. Today I was where I should have been: on the road.

The park ranger said delightedly that he had just seen a fox hunting, pouncing on prey. I said there were coyotes in the field. He said he knew what a fox looked like and that it was a fox. I asked him if there was anyone in the neighboring nature area who was familiar with the coyote groups there. He said that he didn’t pay any attention to coyotes. If he doesn’t pay attention to coyotes, can he distinguish between a fox and a puppy coyote? Do four adult coyotes let a fox live in their home range? Has my desire to see the puppies affected my ability to properly reason?

The park ranger didn’t stay around long enough to catch the two boys that I later saw leaving the field with a bucket. The boys walked along the field’s roads without encountering a coyote. Yet just a few minutes before, three had gone to the area in which the boys were hiding. The coyotes had a lot to keep track of before sunset: a man, the man’s companion, the man’s dog, his companion’s dog, a man in a car, two young boys and an unknown number of puppies. And don’t forget the fox, maybe.

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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