Update on Sparks

Sparks is alive and well in the Presidio where he has resided for several months now. I have followed him since his birth in 2019 where I watched him grow up with four siblings, and then through his dispersal journey much of which I’ve written about here on my blog (put “Sparks” into the search box). During his dispersal to date — a dispersal which began in March of 2020 — he stopped for weeks-on-end at various locations where he either remained temporarily with his sister (she returned to her birthplace), or in other locations he remained alone, and he even was accepted temporarily into an established alpha family (alpha mom, alpha dad, two of three remaining pups) where he interacted, played with, hunted with, and cuddled with the family he stayed with. He seems to get along well with new coyotes he meets. He always moved on. I have seen dispersing youngsters repulsed from established territories, so his situation has been very interesting for me.

And now he is at the Presidio where every evening he meets up with a little female coyote: they rendezvous and howl and yip before running off together for the evening’s activities. I have not identified his special friend yet. I’m wondering if this is his final home, or just another stopping place? He has been here for months, and in fact he had come through the area at the end of the summer and then left before returning and remaining. Maybe he left because of a broken arm he acquired at that time: I could not detect a limp when I last saw him.

The established alphas in the Presidio have been there over a year: Wired and Puff. They had three pups this year.  I’ve written about both of these coyotes before. I’m now trying to figure out Sparks’ current relationship with (position in) Wired’s family. Wired and Puff could easily have driven him out, but they didn’t, as hadn’t the previous family Sparks stayed with. Rather, he formed a warm friendship and bond with them. I wonder if he’s been “adopted” into Wired’s family (as he had been temporarily into Cai2’s family), or if he’s forming a family of his own. It seems that it might be beneficial for Wired and Puff to have an amicable neighbor such as Sparks who they get along with and like, rather than a hostile one. So maybe it’s being allowed on purpose. According to the territories I’ve worked out in San Francisco — they average about 1.5 square miles — the Presidio is actually big enough for more than one family.

Sparks’ story continues to unfold. In the middle of January, 2021, he was seen being driven away from the Presidio at dawn by the Presidio’s breeding alpha male — the two fled down Lyon Street which borders the Presidio, one chasing and the other fleeing. I have not seen this fellow since then. I will update as I can. :((

© 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: ©janetkessler/coyoteyipps.com.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindie W
    Jan 04, 2021 @ 08:30:08

    What a beautiful story. I’m uplifted. THANK YOU!!!


  2. Lina
    Jan 04, 2021 @ 14:58:52

    Thank you, Janet! Here in Portland, Oregon coyotes live in our neighborhood. I just learned from neighbors (who use “NextDoor.com”) that it is a family with three yearling pups. My family has been blessed to see at least two of the coyotes in our backyard. One day, looking out our kitchen window, we saw one luxurious coyote sitting staring directly at the window we looked out of, then she/he did a wonderful “downward facing coyote” stretch, then turned to groom her/his gorgeous tail, before trotting off. I learned one of the neighborhood coyotes (the father) is called “Tripod” (I’ve seen him a couple of times, with his injured right front arm/leg). I’m happy our local coyote family is thriving (even if some other neighbors are less than thrilled). After I first saw a coyote here, I searched online to learn more about coyotes and was thrilled to find and subscribe to your blog. I read every post. I wonder of the 1.5 square mile territory size for coyote families in San Francisco is the same size in Portland.


    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jan 04, 2021 @ 16:13:41

      Hi Lina — Thank you for your compliments, and for sharing your own story! If you ever want to write about your own coyotes, and include any photos, I would love to post them for you! As for territory size, I don’t know. Stan Gehrt of Ohio State has done in-depth territorial studies in Chicago (unfortunately with radio-collars). He calculates that every coyote, normally, needs about a square mile of territory to support itself. HOWEVER, he has also found that in urban areas, where food is plentiful, that those territories are smaller. Also, according to a graduate student at UC Davis, apparently there are many more “interloper” coyotes in Chicago, living on the fringes of other territories, without territories of their own. Keeping all this in mind, and without knowing the area, I would think the territory sizes there in Portland are similar to those here in SF. Hope this helps! Janet

  3. Lina
    Jan 11, 2021 @ 17:25:19

    Thank you, Janet, for your thoughtful informed reply, and for your invitation to submit writings about the coyotes in our neighborhood. I’ll see what I can come up with!


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