Affection and Confirmation of Hierarchy at Rendezvous

HE was out looking for her, and then I lost sight of him. Then I caught sign of her, keeping hidden, but obviously looking for him. They found each other and came together for their rendezvous and greeting.

Their snouts touch and their eyes meet, and she gives him a kiss with her tongue — you can see her tongue in the first photo below where she gently caresses and nuzzles him.

The *touching* proceeds with her putting both paws on his back — claiming and confirming her higher rank — he allows it and even invites it: it’s a sign of affection and harmony in this little family.

Off they go for their evening together after having spent daylight hours apart.

After that, they head off for their adventures of the evening, after having dozed the daylight hours away in separate locations.

Looks Like A Pup, But It’s A Mother Coyote!

Here is a mother coyote that people have been mistaking for a pup. At this time of year, after the entire coat of fur has been shed, coyotes indeed can look very small and thin, with very large ears that seem too big for their heads — just the way a coyote pup might look. This particular coyote is on the smaller side to begin with — probably under 25 pounds which may contribute to people’s thinking that she’s a pup.

Please keep away from all coyotes, be they pups or adults.

Coyotes in Pre-Colombian Mexican Art

Here is a wooden sculpted coyote from the Museo de Artes Populares, in Mexico City.

In Aztec mythology, coyote — often referred to as huehuecoyotle — is the lucky god of music, dance, mischief and song. The prefix “huehue” was attached to gods that were revered for their old age, wisdom, philosophical insights and connections to the divine. Coyote can be associated with indulgence, male sexuality, good luck and story-telling.

Coyote is also a benign prankster, whose tricks tended to backfire and cause more trouble for himself than for the intended victims. A great party-giver, he also was alleged to foment wars between humans to relieve his boredom. He has shapeshifting powers. (Wikipedia)

I hope everyone sees that the Pre-Colombian storyteller possessed amazing wisdom and philosophical insights, into both coyotes and human nature, insights which hold true even today. Coyote is STILL fomenting wars between us humans: just visit your Nextdoor site to see the fights and disagreements about coyotes: coyotes’ shapeshifting powers continue to influence how different humans see this critter! And, of course, we all associate the howling-song-dog with song and sometimes mischief: did you ever wonder who cut through your garden hose last night?! Now the coyote is in trouble again — he has created more trouble for himself! As for good luck, any number of runners and walkers in the parks have told me that seeing a coyote in the park is their good-luck charm for the day. Pretty cool! Photo credits: Audrey Chavez and Nicole Wendel from their recent trip to Mexico City.

Here are four art pieces from the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City:

Sacramento Bee Writes A Profile About Me

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Morning Glory: Kicking Up His Heels At Sunrise

These shots were taken from far in the distance, so they are not terribly sharp, but the coyote’s silhouette as he exuberantly leaped, raced and frolicked along the early morning dawning skyline, absolutely gleefully, with the clear message that he was ever so happy to be alive, was a magical sight worthy of a posting.

On another day, another silhouette scene, with a coyote exuding the same “happy to be alive” exuberance, but this time facing into the rising sun:


Drones never bothered me, until one day they did.  It was in a park where I go to escape from the mechanical noises of the city. It was a beautiful day, as most days are in the parks, when suddenly an incessant buzzing/humming noise interrupted everything pleasant about the park. I looked around, and saw this flying object hovering right over me. It stayed there, then came down practically next to me, and then shot up again. I looked around for anybody who might be controlling the drone, but saw no one at first. As I continued looking, far in the distance I saw someone who looked like he was holding a board which he was manipulating with both hands. I decided to walk in his direction. As I got closer, the flying object zoomed over to him, he packed up and left before I could reach him. I’ve encountered dozens of people who have had similar experiences which they were not happy with.

That was my first drone encounter. I’ve had several such encounters since that one, and I’ve been able to reach the controllers. Most are very courteous  and take their objects out of the sky. Some have not been — they tell me there is no “law” against doing what they are doing, and that they have a “right” to fly. It’s when I found a drone descending on a coyote — which I’ve seen three times now — that I decided to pursue this further.

I went to the internet and found that these objects are banned from national parks, and from any proximity to people. Then I wrote the San Francisco Parks Department, asking them what the rules were for flying drones in city parks in San Francisco. I was told that they had to have a permit, and that permits were not too commonly issued. This was a relief to hear.

So the next time I saw a drone over a coyote (see photos) I approached the controller and told him that it wasn’t appropriate for the wildlife. The droner pulled out an app which he said came with the drone: it showed where droning was not allowed. It did not cover any of the parks in San Francisco. I think the app only lists national parks, because the Presidio was included, but none of the city parks run by RPD had any restrictions. The droner decided he was right, and I was wrong, and I had nothing to prove otherwise.

In the situation depicted in the photos, I hurried into the park, not knowing what was going on except that a coyote was howling. When I arrived, the howls had stopped, but the scene was of a little coyote hovered on a hill with a drone flying above it — the drone was departing as I arrived. There were several onlookers, but they were only concentrating on seeing the coyote howling — wow, pretty exciting, I agree — and they hadn’t noticed if it was the drone that had triggered the howls. I only got there afterwards, so I won’t ever know this. But I do know that if the drone is bothersome to me, both in terms of its noise and as an object hovering over me, I’m pretty sure it would be bothersome, even frightening, to a coyote, whose sense of hearing is so much more acute than mine and who is wary of all intrusions into its personal space, and probably especially by an object it doesn’t understand.

I’m hoping RPD can make these regulations a little more easily available for everyone.

Daybreak After July 4th

We humans live our lives often forgetting about the other creatures who are around. On the 4th, there were beastly loud and continuous firework blasts and scary lights in the skies, judging from the reactions of some dogs and some people. Our activities affect the myriad of animals, wild and not wild, who mostly inconspicuously inhabit our city with us. You can see our effect when you are able to zero-in on an animal’s sudden change of routine behavior.

Out-door concerts in the parks also affect animals. They affect me: I find that they are too loud to be near for too long, and the noise prevents me from doing other things. The noise is very loud and continuous over multiple days — it’s a long period of time. Throngs of people upset the equilibrium of a normally calmer park which the animals are used to. The fences put up, say in Golden Gate Park, to make sure everyone who goes to the concerts pays their way, in fact often separate animals from their families and each other, and from their food and water sources, with no way to go around or under them. Caring humans who are in-the-know try hard to fix problems caused by interminable fences, but maybe, might it not be better to have the concerts in an enclosed space, such as Cow Palace, where the disruption wouldn’t be quite so brutal to all other forms of life?

In San Francisco for the 4th, besides the big fireworks in the Bay which were put on by the City itself, people put on their own fireworks displays throughout the city, some on the periphery of parks.  I did not go to these celebrations, so I was unable to see any coyote’s reaction to all of it.

But the first thing I saw in the morning of the 5th was the used fireworks debris strewn all over the intersection of a road, mostly along the curbs, next to a park. A burning odor permeated the area, still. The noise had been tremendous and lasted for many hours, and I was told that crowds of people had gathered in the parks to watch — another disruption for wildlife.

Then I glimpsed the little coyote who I normally see sitting calmly on a bluff overlooking her domain or engaging in apparently happy play in the wee hours of the morning. This coyote was not at its usual spot or engaging in its usual activities. In fact, the coyote hurried stiffly from I-know-not-where to the edge of the park. It looked worried and preoccupied and didn’t even glance my way. It looked far out in all directions. And then it abruptly turned and hurried at a brisk trot, very purposefully, past me and away, down several streets and out of sight, rather than remaining, as was its routine, to watch the passers-by.  Is it coincidental that July 4th was the previous night? Or might this animal’s anxious (my word) behavior be tied to the disruptive (my word) activity of the previous evening? You decide.

Last year an observer told me that, after five days of heavy concerts-in-the-park, the little family of 5 coyotes she had been watching regularly suddenly vanished never to be seen again. The family probably just took off.  Maybe we should think about our human impacts a little more seriously?

If You Play With Bumble Bees . . . .

Boredom might cause you to try playing with bumble bees, if you are a coyote. After chasing and biting at them for a few minutes, this coyote went back and punched the nest to have a little more fun — a little more excitement — and the coyote got what it asked for. Hmmm, looks like the bumble bees got angry. Enjoy the video!

We small group of onlookers were waiting for the expected outcome, while at the same time, rooting for it not to happen. The coyote obviously didn’t know that such a tiny creature, a bumble bee, might produce such a shot of pain. The coyote is lucky the target was a paw and not its nose. Even so, it looks like the sting was painful, judging by the attention paid to that paw about an hour later. I’ll keep my eye on this fella to see if it learned its lesson!


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