Intruder Driven Away by Resident Yearlings

Coyotes usually yip, howl and bark, making all of these sounds altogether. But this time, all I heard was a single coyote barking. If you’ve read my Coyote Voicings posting, you’ll know that this “raspy” type of vocalization is one of anger, distress or upset, and it is used as a warning to other coyotes or dogs. It went on for some moments before I started recording and videoing it. I wondered what was going on.

At close to the two-minute marker in the video, the yearling female starts looking around. Then she crouches low and hugs the ground as she hurries towards one of her brothers who had been alerted by her distressed distressed barks. You can tell she’s angry, not just by the tone of her barking, but also by her defiant stance and almost ‘kicking dirt’.

She greets that sibling and then they both look up to see a third sibling male appear. These three yearling siblings are best buddies, and are there for each other. At 19 months they still play incredibly well together and would come to each others aid, as I believe happened here, and as I’ve seen before. The three of them all run towards each other in a sort of ritual huddle of solidarity, and then run off together. The female was reacting to something, but I had no clue as to what this could be.  I wonder if she was able to communicate what it was to her brothers. Even if the communication hadn’t been precise, it did communicate her distress and anger, and they definitely picked up on that.

The very next day, though, I had my answer. I saw two coyotes in the same bushes: one was following at the heels of another and biting its hind legs, while that other was walking away in a crouched down, self-protective and submissive posture. I could only see their backs, so I couldn’t tell right off WHO these two were. The crouching coyote was clearly being driven away by the coyote in back of her.

And then I saw their faces. The male coyote doing the nipping is one of the remaining resident yearlings — a mere 19 months old. And the coyote he was attempting to drive out was a female I hadn’t seen before. I wonder where she’s from. The resident coyotes were successful, which makes sense because there were three of them against one. Also it’s their home turf. I haven’t seen the intruder female again.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trish
    Dec 11, 2020 @ 13:57:02

    Amazing and beautiful documentation of their behavior.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 11, 2020 @ 14:26:26

      Thank you, Trish. WHO they are, what they’re capable, the depth of their awareness and ability to communicate this, their need to defend their home, and ability to work together physically and psychologically. There’s a lot there, isn’t there?! Thanks for your comment. Janet

  2. MelindaH
    Dec 12, 2020 @ 20:19:21

    Wow—very impressive set of photos. So glad I wasn’t the intruder. Thank you.


  3. MelindaH
    Dec 12, 2020 @ 22:08:11

    You’re right—I forget that lol


  4. Lisa Febre
    Dec 12, 2020 @ 22:51:49

    WOW! Just wow! Their ability to work together & hold on to their territory is impressive & awe inspiring. Are there times when a young family group like this will accept a new member like this intruder? Life is hard for these guys, but wow the tools at their disposal to get the job done!


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 12, 2020 @ 23:12:33

      Hi Lisa —

      Yes, I’ve seen several families “adopt” an intruder youngster, so that indeed does happen, but it’s never happened in the family which this post is about. One has to remember that coyotes are extremely individualistic. Although there is a “norm”, there are always variations and exceptions. :)) Janet

  5. Claire Perry
    Dec 13, 2020 @ 16:16:56

    Aren’t the youngsters who cannot find home territory, the coyotes that become the problems ? How can there be enough territory with developments rising and habitat shrinking? What is the answer for these displaced youngsters that cannot be accepted into a new territory ? Thanks.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Dec 13, 2020 @ 16:35:26

      Hi Claire —

      San Francisco is a peninsula. It turns out that most of the dispersing youngsters are pushed out and south of the city. Many get killed by cars. In San Francisco, since the parks are “taken” we have a number of coyotes claiming space in the greener neighborhoods. Let me know if this helps! Janet

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