Inquiry from a concerned observer:
“I am writing to you because I saw a coyote this morning and wanted to report what I’d seen to someone who might be able to use this information. My spouse and I drove to Stinson Beach. On the drive up Highway 1 about 2 miles South of Stinson Beach at about 7:20am, a coyote sat in the middle of the road on the yellow divider line. We slowed so as to not hit it. It paced a bit in the middle of the road. Another vehicle had pulled over off the road before us and the driver had a large telephoto lens and was taking photos of the coyote. The coyote didn’t run from either vehicle. We wondered if it had been hit and was confused. It moved about without apparent injury. We drove on.”
“After a coffee in Stinson Beach, my spouse began his hike and I drove back toward Muir Woods to read a book until he met me at the end of his hike. At 8:12am and 2.1 miles South of Stinson Beach (around the bend of where we’d seen the coyote earlier) a coyote charged my car from the hillside but then stopped again sitting on the center yellow divider line of the road. There were no other cars in front of or behind me at the time. It appears to be the same coyote. I slowed and then proceeded on as it sat there. I am not sure how long this coyote will live under these conditions and wanted to let someone know who might be able to help this animal or track this data.”
Explanation about why the coyote doing this
Thanks for writing to tell me about the coyote. It’s a real shame. That coyote is sitting there simply because s/he has been taught to do so by folks feeding him/her from their cars. S/he’s been rewarded for this behavior. I’ve seen this happen in one of the neighborhoods here in SF. I’ve actually been told by folks that they are “helping” the coyotes by feeding them this way, as if the coyotes couldn’t find their own food. Human food sources are not good for coyotes, and most importantly it will be hard to un teach this behavior of waiting for food from cars. What you can do to help is let everyone and anyone know please not to feed coyotes. And doing so from a car puts the coyote in double jeopardy. There’s a phrase, actually coined by my Behavioral Ecologist friend, Mary Paglieri: “A fed coyote is a dead coyote.” I will pass this on to her.
And again, thank you for sending me the information about the little road-sitting Stinson Beach coyote. I’ll do what I can to get him/her help.