I was first alerted that a coyote might be around by the shreaking caws of ravens close by — this was my first clue that a coyote was out and about, even though I had not seen one. It is interesting that both raven and human voices have alerted me to the presence of a coyote way before I actually saw it. In the case of humans, I have come to recognize the urgent and insistent yelling from all the way across a park  — it has always been someone unaccustomed to coyotes, with an unleashed dog, who was shooing off a coyote that had wandered in too close.

Upon hearing the caws, I looked around and sure enough, there was a lone coyote coming up a path. Aside from looking up at the ravens, the coyote pretty much ignored them. The coyote climbed up to a little knoll where it sat down — probably to enjoy a peaceful morning. Instead, the ravens who were perched in a nearby tree, began circling around and cawing insistently at the little coyote. They never got too close to the coyote, but they sure let their presence be known and their discontentment with the coyote being there. The coyote limited its activity to glancing up at them now and then.

I wondered in what way coyotes were a threat to ravens — why ravens needed to harass a coyote like this — why they felt a need to warn the coyote off.  I’ve seen Blue Jays also harass a coyote. Ravens are raptors which eat the same little voles that coyotes eat — there is competition for resources here.  As for the threat of  coyotes to Blue Jays? I’ve seen them both eat peanuts!! I’ve also seen little tiny Black-eyed Juncos harass a coyote — they just didn’t want the coyote around — the coyote was lying under their tree.  And I have seen squirrels tease, and angrily chatter and scold a coyote who lingered too long under a tree where they lived.

The Ravens tired of this activity before the coyote did — they left — and the coyote spent a little bit of peaceful time on that foggy morning atop that knoll in a park!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Charles Wood
    Jun 30, 2011 @ 10:24:35

    Maybe its personal? I saw an article this week (http://news.yahoo.com/not-bird-brained-clever-crows-recognise-faces-230658568.html) reporting that crows recognize faces, and I imagine that ravens do too. It is fun to think the ravens and this particularly coyote had ‘history’.


    • yipps
      Jun 30, 2011 @ 12:29:07

      Fascinating article, especially in light of what I have been reading lately in scientific articles about how intelligent animals really are. I have noticed that it definitely is “personal” between dogs and coyotes. Coyotes know each dog individually and, I have noticed often, react to them according to past “history”.

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