Taking Control of the Den, by Charles Wood

Here in LA County I’m starting my fourth year watching a coyote family fortunate enough to live in a square mile of undeveloped land in the middle of suburbia. Pictured together are the two I call Mom and Dad, moving across their home range. Pictured alone is a young female coyote I don’t believe I’ve seen before. Surely their child, she may be from their 2011 litter.

Mom & Dad

I haven’t seen Mom and Dad for about six months. At that time, Dad looked like an old beat up coyote with an illness. Rumors of Dad’s death have been greatly exaggerated!

From the riverbank outside their field Tuesday, I watched Mom as she watched me while sitting outside their den area. NewGal showed up next and Mom didn’t rise to greet her, meaning they had been together in that area for a bit. I started to walk away. Out of the corner of my eye I saw two coyotes joyfully greeting and knew a third had shown up after an absence. Through my camera lens I could see it was Mom and Dad. The couple then moved across their field towards where I had been standing on the riverbank. I lost sight of them in the brush. They were agitated so I continued to walk away.

New Gal

A jogger came from their direction and told me that a coyote was out on the riverbank. Surprisingly, he said that the coyote was going away from me. Probably it was another coyote in that field that irked Mom and Dad, a coyote they didn’t want around and worked together to chase off. Dad’s hackles were up for trouble and Mom was his backup.

Mom and Dad have returned to their den area and have taken firm control. Last year they successfully kept me from seeing their puppies. This year I need to work smarter.

Posting written by Charles Wood. Visit Charles Wood’s website for more coyote photos: Charles Wood. His work is copyrighted and may only be used with his explicit permission.

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