Courting and New Bonds

It is again breeding season, when unattached coyotes look for partners who will become their lifelong mates. These two coyotes appear to be a new “couple” or “pair”, or at least they are headed in that direction. The male has been following around after the female, at a comfortable distance, without crowding her, and even looking disinterested at times, but always only a few paces away!

The male is totally solicitous of the female, and ever so careful not to annoy or upset her. He watches for, and is alert to, any sign of displeasure from her. She is the queen. She, on the other hand, is much less interested in him, it seems. But she is his “chosen one”, and if she consents to his advances, they will become partners for life.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 03:56:16

    Springtime love story!

    Reply

  2. dave
    Mar 01, 2014 @ 02:15:43

    a co-worker showed me a picture of a deer leg left 5ft from her back door by a coyote, almost like the coyote was making an offering. any experience with this type of behavior?

    Reply

    • yipps
      Mar 01, 2014 @ 13:57:07

      I’ve had the impression, on several occasions, that prey — in my case dead voles — were left for me after I had watched a hunt. You have to ask yourself, “why” would a coyote be leaving an “offering”? My thought is that it would have been an offering of goodwill, acceptance and, therefore, peaceful coexistence! But I have never heard about this behavior outside of my own personal experience.

    • dave
      Mar 01, 2014 @ 16:26:44

      she has large dogs that have had encounters with the coyotes. the coyotes have spooked her horses. just some more pieces of the puzzle. my thought was that it was a peace offering for the dogs or submission to the dogs. thanks for the reply

  3. Charles Wood
    Mar 01, 2014 @ 21:50:39

    Dave, did your friend actually see a coyote bring that deer leg to the back door, drop it, and leave? If not, is it possible that one of the large dogs brought home the deer leg unobserved? Another possibility, if the dogs were confined and couldn’t have brought the deer leg, is that a coyote brought a deer leg to eat at that location in order to taunt your friend’s dogs, taunting as part of the coyotes’ and your friend’s dogs’ territory dispute.

    What we do know is that coyotes form nuclear families in territory that they defend by marking and challenging encroachments. Coyotes will encroach on other coyotes’ territory until chased off as part of a sort of game (God’s Dog – Hope Ryden has such an account). There aren’t any observations of coyotes making peace with their neighbors. Instead, it seems to be a constant push and shove among very territorial animals, a contest amongst them that began almost before time itself. Human’s can conceive of a time without human to human conflict and war, human’s can conceptualize peace though they are not able to produce lasting peace. Coyotes can’t conceptualize life other than as they live it. We know better but can’t do better. Coyotes wouldn’t even try to do better.

    Reply

    • yipps
      Mar 01, 2014 @ 23:16:07

      Wonderful reply, Charles, and well worded! You have the amazing ability to relate behaviors to ourselves so that they are totally comprehensible, and then to put them into a humbling perspective! Thank you, Charles, for your insights! Janet

  4. dave
    Mar 01, 2014 @ 23:22:16

    interesting and convincing theory based on observation. more interesting “we know better but can’t do better” very Pauline, I agree also based on convincing personal observation thanks.

    Reply

  5. Charles Wood
    Mar 02, 2014 @ 17:39:00

    Dave, Janet, thank you.

    My view of the coyote pair bond, like that of the wolf, is that coyotes and wolves and their dog descendants, orient their adult productive life around an evolutionary predisposition to form a pair bond. I observed in my mom and dad coyotes’ pair bond many familiar elements, e.g., cooperation when it mattered, irritation with each other, accommodation, emotional support at times of great stress, and self-directed alone time. Communication between the two was gestural and, particularly from Mom, by eyes with ‘that look’ although most of the time they just knew what to do and set about it. My view is that the loyalty, cooperation, and protectiveness we receive from a good dog have their basis in dogs’ evolutionary predisposition to form a pair bond. In that context, it’s important to add that dogs, wolves, and coyotes do seem selfish with their food, argumentative about it, and worried about the ‘other’ food thief that each one certainly is. I view those divisive behaviors as just a little bit of friendly competition and don’t view them as core to coyote and wolf social organization, my having discarded the ‘pack leader’ paradigm for that of ‘soul mate’.

    Reply

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