Coyote Territorial Movements To Four Corners of the City: An Update

For 13 years I’ve been documenting coyotes and their families in the city. Last year, the life of one of those coyotes — a loner female — bounced into one of charmed companionship with the arrival of a friendly young newcomer male, and then, within just a few months of that, it spun downhill into chaos when her territory was invaded and taken over by an older female. This older female happened to be associated with her new male companion, and it’s this association that may have drawn the older female to the area in the first place. After these life-changing incidents, I continued to follow the lives, behaviors, new relationships and movements through the city of these particular coyotes, most of whom I have been following since their births. This current poster is a summary update — the present point in time — of where things stand now with each of those players.

The coyotes involved had come together from distant parts of the city and interacted during just a brief period of time towards the end of 2018 and through the first half of 2019. In the end, after all the intense up-and-down drama (see Coyote Territorial Movements: Scout’s Story), they went their separate ways and to diametrically opposite corners of the city. Each matured in his/her own way, claimed a territory and found a family situation of their own making. An interesting twist to the story is that a brother of the young male companion ended up becoming the mate of the intruding female. OMG! The displaced female — the main character of the story — found her way back to and re-claimed her original territory where she has bonded and formed a family with a completely new male. [More, press HERE].

My observations of these movements, along with all behaviors and relationships, are made without invasive “gadgets” such as radio-collars and identification tags. DNA from scat will confirm what I’ve detected from my own naked-eye observations — this is my concession to the “scientific” method which focuses on stats and hard data. But look at how much scientists are missing beyond the “stats” and number-crunching: a whole world of interactions, activities, relationships, and personalities! Each individual is different and can’t be summarized as a statistic and neither can their individual histories!

“You are doing the work”, one of my sons tells me. It needs to be put out there. No one else is doing what you are doing — this first-hand research. The word “expert”, another son tells me, comes from the word “experience”: i.e., doing the footwork. Spouting a “degree” as a “credential” evades the question of what a person really knows about coyotes or our coyotes here in San Francisco.  I work alone, not as a team, I don’t have an organization or their funds behind me, and this is not a paid job. It might be time to toot my own horn a little!

© All information and photos in my postings come from my own original and first-hand documentation work which I am happy to share with permission and with properly displayed credit.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Deb McDonald
    May 10, 2020 @ 05:25:30

    Janet, I agree with your son. You are doing the work. And it’s very important work. And as a qualitative researcher, I can professionally say that your work is equal in value to the quant folks. Your contribution to the “data” gathering of urban coyote life is extraordinary and absolutely a vital piece of the whole story. Thank you for your dedication and methodological rigor in documenting the stories of our urban coyotes.


  2. Sharon Stroble
    May 10, 2020 @ 19:14:46

    You are the best, and far superior in your observation, data collection, and non-abusive techniques (no collars etc). Too bad there aren’t more of you in Depts of Wildlife.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      May 10, 2020 @ 20:28:09

      Thanks, Sharon! Scientists are not animal welfare people, in fact, many scientists use animals to gather data for other purposes (testing makeup in rabbits’ eyes). I think the problem is that the data collected is often more important than the welfare of the animal. Scientists are paid to collect and analyze their data, not to take care of animals. :((

  3. Gina Solomon
    May 11, 2020 @ 20:32:17

    Janet, your observations are extremely valuable data. Qualitative research is just as important as quantitative research. The type of research that you are doing has a long and proud tradition, going back to some of the greatest naturalists of all time. You should never apologize for your work, or feel inadequate. We rely on your observations in so many ways!


  4. Sarah
    May 20, 2020 @ 12:59:15

    Your work is thrilling and amazing. Opens up a greater in-depth world of the animal and friend so dear to my heart. Thank you, kindly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: