Mister Tries, by Charles Wood

Mister Scrapes

My dog Holtz and I ran into Mister Wednesday while walking in my Los Angeles area coyotes’ field.  I was glad to see him ahead of us, he going down a path on which we were going up.

The photographs show that Mister looked, scraped, evaluated and fled.  In contrast, Dad’s scraping display signals that next he will approach.

It took me some time to notice body language in the photographs that Holtz probably instinctively knows how to interpret.  The photographs show that Mister’s feet are pointed away from us before, during and after the scraping display.  In comparison, Dad stands on a perpendicular to us when he scrapes.  Dad’s perpendicular stance doesn’t suggest fight or flight.  Mister’s angled away stance suggests flight.  I wonder if a perpendicular stance creates more stress in the observer for being ambiguously not fight, not flight.  In any case, the perpendicular stance Dad uses shows his full length and a better view of his raised hackles, an awesome side view of a coyote’s power.

Mister fled.  Holtz and I continued along out of the field and Mister was nowhere to be seen.  (Dad would have visibly followed Holtz and me).  Near the exit, on the other side of a chain link fence, Dad appeared and began scraping, positioned on the perpendicular.  Not needing to see more, we left and so did Dad.

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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