Wild Plums, Eagles, Runt and Big Sis, by Walkaboutlou

“We are entering wild plum season, with blackberry, raspberry and blueberry fast approaching”

Hi Janet.

I hope you are well as summer flies. We are already entering wild plum season, with blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry also fast approaching.

Of course, this is appreciated by our local coyote. I was talking with one property owner who has been spying on some coyote pups the last 3 weeks. I enjoyed his observations and here are some.

“The pack consists of parents and a female yearling daughter with 5 pups. The pups were moved to a “rendezvous” area at around 6 weeks. Immediately, they changed dramatically. They started foraging for, and catching crickets, grasshoppers and mice/voles. There are also several plum trees in rendezvous area and the pups feast on plums daily. They are so full of fruit, bugs and mice, they sometimes ignore parents returning with food. They were at first scared of deer, but now playfully charge at them.

An incident occurred when it was noticed the “runt” pup had lacerations to his back and it seemed had trouble with back legs. Evidence indicates a golden eagle, as the pups hid for at least 2 days before being moved again. And an eagle kept returning to site and sitting in trees surrounding area. On 3rd day pup seemed listless, and then the older sister carried it a bit then groomed it some time, then slept with it. For several days she stayed with injured pup while parents fed pups AND older daughter while she cared for runt. The pup, though stunted and weak, is rallying again and hunting bugs and eating fruit, as well as being fed by parents.

No doubt it wouldn’t have survived without big sister’s week long special care. When the parents returned with venison (from scavenging road killed deer) the big sister guarded the runt while he ate a slice of meat as big as himself! He might be an undersized underdog, but he is grabbing the chances his big sister gave him. We see a coyote trotting along….but are almost never aware of the family bonds and life saving deeds they often share.”

Lou🐾🌾

“Most people don’t realize golden eagle are more than happy to take a young fox, coyote or wolf. This pup was very fortunate to escape, and have a big sis. ❤🐾

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo Thompson
    Jul 06, 2020 @ 19:46:57

    Great post. Thank you.
    Just wondering what nutrients would be in this fruit-laden diet that might be seasonally beneficial for the family.

    Reply

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jul 06, 2020 @ 20:08:40

      Hi Jo — I would think the same nutrients that are beneficial to us: first of all, calories! Remember that coyotes are called “opportunistic” eaters which means they can eat and digest almost anything. Fruit and vegetables are regular additions to their diets and especially when it’s all falling to the ground right in front of them. Having said that, I don’t know what specific nutrients nor how their use of these nutrients helps them at this particular time of year.

    • Lou Speak Owl
      Jul 06, 2020 @ 22:36:27

      I would concur with Janet..it’s all about calories for wild coyote. Perhaps not as nice as venison, but plums and fruit can help stave off hunger. In addition, in dry hills and hot summer, plums are full of moisture. Eating plums saves the pups from making exposing daytime trips to water. I’ve seen coyote enjoy ripened watermelon immensely. Some seem to love fruit.

  2. Kathy
    Jul 06, 2020 @ 22:11:10

    Love reading Lou’s accounts. Just as a point of interest, our coyotes are quite often given fruit in their diets. Some of them eat it, others ignore it.

    Reply

  3. deborah odonnell
    Jul 07, 2020 @ 18:03:58

    When I interviewed John Kilgo , who did a two year study of coyote at the Savannah River Site in Georgia, he said that he observed that coyotes primarily ate grasshoppers and wild fruits during the Summer.

    Reply

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jul 07, 2020 @ 18:18:03

      Hi Deborah — Interesting! I think every region is different — coyotes will eat what’s available. Right now here in San Francisco, coyotes are filling up on all kinds of fruit and seeds which you can see in their scat, but we don’t have grasshoppers, so that’s not part of their diet here. :))

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