Typical Travel, by Charles Wood

The video clip, out of focus for the first ten seconds, shows Mom and Dad as they typically travel together on this particular stretch of road. The clip begins as they trot along together. Then both pause to reconnoiter, watchful and alert. They move on. Dad takes the low ground and Mom has his back, positioning herself on high ground. She is ready to either defend his rear or to join Dad should he encounter foe. Out of view, my guess is that Dad is investigating a scent. Momentarily Mom hurries to join him.

Mom and Dad come back into view and stop at a scent. They both mark it and scrape. Probably they are messaging my dogs and me and are at the same time, more importantly, marking over scent left by an intruder. Mom and Dad both leave their mark to be read by any interested coyotes. It says, “Team Mom and Dad are here. Stay away.”

Dad lingers for more investigative scent sniffing while Mom hurries toward an entrance to the den area. Dad trots to catch up with her. In the final seconds of the clip, Dad scoots past Mom, leading their way into fairly dense brush. I don’t think Dad was pushing to lead Mom, or trying to get ahead of her so he could lead, protect and serve. I think instead Mom just happened to slow down so as to sniff something and Dad just happened to pass her.

Mom, Dad, and their family don’t spend all their time in or in proximity to their den area, are away from there for hours at a time. Upon returning, they reclaim it by marking, clear out any intruders, and eventually meet up with other family members. In short, they sweep the area clear before settling in. Once settled, they attend to family matters and guard their space.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara Knupp
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 00:00:24

    So it looks as if the coyote pair must stay together after the pups are raised. I had wondered about that. Will they stay together next year as well? In other words, are they a pair for life?


  2. Charles Wood
    Oct 25, 2012 @ 03:21:02

    Hi Barbara and Janet — Not only a pair for life, they don’t fool around, as this study of urban coyotes found, urban coyotes are 100 percent monogamous: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/coyotemonog.htm

    I”m not so sure the pups are ever raised, by which I mean that there are usually new pups and last year pups hanging with Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad are the center of a perpetual family group. Not only will Mom and Dad be together next year, they will be together in the same place, their established territory.


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