Thrilled To Be Observing My Urban Wild Neighbors, by Ella Dine

I live in Portland, Oregon, and I have observed a coyote family in the same location dozens of times in a green space/natural park surrounding a local college, most notably in the evenings, and especially during pupping months.  The area provides not only diverse coverage but also supreme visibility, with rock and mulch piles of varying heights.  It also boasts plenty of shade and a water source (either a stagnant puddle or two, as you can see in the second picture, or a tiny creek/run-off not too far away).  Best of all, this little area is set back just far enough from all major walking paths so that the coyotes can go about their business while dogs and their people pass by at a safe distance.  Most people seem to pass without noticing the coyotes at all.  Today, I observed mom and dad, and got a brief glimpse of one pup, though I believe there are more in the family.

2016-06-06 (1)

Just seconds before this, mom was lounging.  I will call her “mom” because I think she is the female, but I may not be correct.

2016-06-07 (5)

Here she has opted to step up on a rock for a better view.  She remained this way for a long while after hearing some kids yell in the distance.  Until, her thirst got the best of her…

2016-06-07 (3)

It’s going to be 100 degrees in Portland for the 2nd day in a row, which I imagine is tough on the coyotes.  After disappearing to where I think the pups were, mom reappeared and drank some of this muddy water.  I couldn’t help but wonder if coyotes are prone to the same illnesses as their canine counterparts, like giardia?  

2016-06-07 (4)


All was quiet for a long time, with little movement in the area until mom ran out of sight.  I looked around to see what mom had run from, and I spotted someone on his way back from wherever he had been (I think this is the male—he appears darker in color and slightly larger).  

2016-06-07 (1)

2016-06-07 (2)
At this point, I decided to move on as I felt that dad had certainly noticed me, but I didn’t leave without noting that the coyote I call “dad” took his position where the other coyote had been, seemingly on watch.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the routine would be repeated throughout the day?  One on watch while the other checks the perimeter then they switch places?  It’s hard to guess, but I am lucky enough to retreat to my air-conditioned house, thinking all the while that no matter what transpires for this coyote family on this brutally hot day, it’s such a thrill and honor to observe these resilient neighbors whose very survival depends upon their constantly observing us.  



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Charles Wood
    Jun 09, 2016 @ 03:05:06

    Nice post Ella! I hope to hear more.


  2. EllaDine
    Jun 09, 2016 @ 23:48:48

    Thank you, Charles! I finally caught some time with the pups. So lucky to watch this family.


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