Squawk! A Warning Call for All Forest Dwellers Within Earshot

In a forest there is always some animal that calls out warning alarms when they sense trouble or danger lurking in the area. The cries serve to broadcast alarm to all citizens of the forest within earshot. Other species besides just their own learn how to read these cries of alarm, including me! Among others, ravens, flickers and blue-jays send out cries of alarm.

And that’s how I found coyotes today. Hearing a blue-jay squawk obsessively, I thought a coyote might be around, and sure enough, I was right. I ran towards where the sound was coming from, where I found the jay single-mindedly belting out its “beware, beware” admonition. And then I spotted a coyote close by. The coyote hurried off a little distance when it saw me and then stopped on a rock to scratch himself. Within a minute another coyote joined him. They allowed me to watch them for a moment, and then one, and then the other, hurried off into the bushes.

The fun part was being summoned to what was going on by the especially distressed squawking of the blue jay, and being right about what the commotion was about!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. lm
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 21:22:25

    Another great title! “Squawk!…”

    I think one of the most interesting things about animals is their information systems — in forests, in cities, anywhere — the way an early-morning habitat, really noisy, grows suddenly-quiet — one species will “warn” the others of its species, but the other species rely on that too, for instance when the birds “squawk” _everybody_ dives for cover… I bet there is all sorts of other communication, intra-species and inter-species, going on which we don’t know about.

    Like the “truces” around watering-holes, where predators and prey gather to drink from the common village-pump — those amazing photos of lion families and elephants, eyeing one another warily, but “agreeing” not to upset the peace while water is needed — lots of very interesting animal-communication.

    Birds have such strange ear-registers — lots that we don’t / can’t / won’t hear — entire symphonies going on, among them, which simply are beyond our “hearing”.



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