The Birthing Rock

Every year, soon-to-be-dads wait out the birthing event. Their job is to stay away and to keep a lookout not far from the den area to ensure that everything remains safe for the birthing mother and pups. Birthing, of course, is a vulnerable time for all of us, and the male, in this manner, puts extra effort into his mate’s and offspring’s protection and security, and goes the extra mile for their needs, including bringing home food. For me, this activity has always served as a sort of secret “birth announcement”!

Of particular interest is the fellow above on the rock. For years now, when the time comes, he hangs out on the same rock regularly for up to a couple of hours a day for several days as his mate gives birth. Because of this, I call it “the birthing rock”. Several days ago, I decided, “it’s time”: I had seen these two mate a couple of months earlier.  I began visiting the rock daily. When you can predict coyote behavior, there’s a feeling that maybe you’ve “arrived”: that you know coyotes as well as it is possible to know them. For several years now, I’ve been able to predict a bunch of behaviors, which always impresses those I’m talking to as much as it impresses me myself! :))  I’ll state what is about to happen, and then it happens! So I knew this guy would imminently be on the birthing rock, and within a few days of looking for him, there he was!

So pups are either being born or have already been born here in San Francisco. Another tell-tale sign will be lactating mothers, if you can find one: behaviorally, most coyote mothers I know generally keep themselves more secluded and hidden when their pups are very young: maybe this is a security precaution — keeping themselves out of danger’s way — to make sure they are around to nurture and take care of their growing and dependent pups. In many coyote moms, their condition is pretty much concealed, especially in younger moms, but in others, especially older mothers, their maternal state is more obvious, as seen below. They will be lactating through the beginning of June when regurgitated and then solid food begin taking over.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hilary Cole
    Apr 23, 2019 @ 08:17:28

    Hi Janet… Amazing and delightful portryal, as always, of the beautiful Coyote 💕 May they live long and happy, raise their pups successfully and safely… I love the description of the Birthing Rock… wonderous 💖🥰

    Hilary 💕 and thanks 😊


  2. MelindaH.
    Apr 24, 2019 @ 20:28:15

    I LOVE the birthing rock!! ❤️❤️


  3. Claire Perry
    Apr 28, 2019 @ 10:58:19

    This is a lovely article. My heart breaks for them here in Maine, where they are hunted with hound dogs every single day of the year but Sundays…and even in the night ! The dogs can run on private posted property…landowners have no law on the books prohibiting the running of coyote hounds on posted property ! I am determined to get some decent rights on the books for landowners here in Maine. It happens on my property and I am fed up with it ! NOT acceptable !


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Apr 29, 2019 @ 04:21:04

      Hi Claire —

      Unfortunately, the killing of coyotes by hunters, either in open season hunts like in your area or even in organized “coyote killing contests” or “coyote whacking contests” (running them down with snowmobiles) is common throughout the country. We have many organizations fighting these practices and with a lot of effort, winning: for example, New Mexico earlier this year banned coyote killing contests in that state! It’s a state by state challenge. Stopping open season hunting of coyotes is an even greater challenge. Please contribute your energy and effort to help! Janet

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Apr 29, 2019 @ 14:23:18

      Hi again, Claire! I contacted Geri (Vistein) who I know in your area and sent her your comment. She says she can tell from your writing who you are. She says she’s already working with you to make a difference! So nice to hear this! :)) Thank you for being involved. Janet

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