Ferdinand the Coyote, by Charlotte Hildebrand

It’s hard not to hear the goings on next door, especially given that my kitchen window looks out on my neighbor’s yard. At night I can hear swishing in the bushes as the night creatures make their way to Thea’s bowls. In the morning I hear more swishing and tap tap tapping and see the skunks and cats and crows and coyote that come to eat breakfast and dinner.

To be fair, the coyote hasn’t been around much this summer… until last weekend. This comes as a relief but not a surprise. It was explained to me how he would eventually wean himself of human interaction (I’m assuming coyote is a he but he could be a she): “Given time, this matter will resolve on its own, the coyote will decide [when].”

When coyote does come around, it’s like a homecoming. Thea comes right into the lower yard where coyote’s lying in the grass not more than five feet away. She talks to him and coyote listens, waiting for her to put food into the bowl. Then she gives him her blessing and climbs back up the steps to go inside. Thea is unafraid because the coyote is her friend. He likes skunks. He likes to smell the breezes. He likes the tall grasses in Thea’s backyard. He must get sick of coyote life—enough of the urine smells and hard rocks for beds and howling at night.

Coyote is Ferdinand the bull: “He liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers. He had a favorite spot out in the pasture under a cork tree. It was his favorite tree and he would sit in its shade all day and smell the flowers.”—Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson

Seeing is believing. Here is Coyote as Ferdinand:

Reprinted from Charlotte Hidebrand’s blog, The Rat’s Nest. For more of Charlotte’s writing, please visit her website: http://charlottehildebrand.blogspot.com/

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sutro Forest
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 00:24:37

    I know the neighbor shouldn’t be feeding wildlife… but this was delightful. I’m still chuckling.


  2. yipps
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 01:05:22

    Thank you!! YES! Early on in this blog I wrote about coyotes as having an aspect of “Ferdinand” the bull who just wants to sit in the meadow and smell the flowers! I have seen them many times sitting on a hill top, enjoying the sunshine and the scenery and dozing off now and again — and it has always brought to mind Ferdinand.

    Your “Peaceable Kingdom” is fabulous! I’m blown away by the skunks just wandering around right next to the coyote resting there! I’ve heard that most animals keep away from them except the owls who are not bothered by the smell. I have smelled several coyotes who have been “skunked”. However, I have also seen coyotes feeding on a skunk carcass in this area.


    • Charlotte Hildebrand
      Aug 17, 2011 @ 17:28:03

      Janet, once again thank you for letting me post on your great blog. I look forward to your post on smell; i did notice that when the skunk raised its tail the coyote looked its way, probably getting a whiff. Otherwise, the coyote seemed unconcerned, rather enjoying their company. He also seemed to defer to the skunks, letting them dine in front of him while he whiled away the afternoon. He could have gotten up at any time to interrupt their eating, but he didn’t. Truly a gentle soul. Go Ferdinand!!

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