Responding

Most coyote activity usually begins after dark, but sometimes some family members are ready to begin their evening activities well before then. Yesterday, by late afternoon I found this young, almost-two-year-old female lying down in a field in the shadow of some bushes. She was very well concealed, but visible if you actually knew what you were looking for. She kept her eye on the passers-by in the distance, keeping her focus mostly on unleashed active dogs running energetically all over the place, but none came in her direction. Soon, grooming herself became her focus of activity –the bugs were bugging her!

She began getting up to better reach some of the irritating rascals on her body, then she lay back down. After several of these getting-up and then lying-down again cycles, she sat up, stretched, and slowly began to wander off.

She probably had been waiting there for the rest of her family. It’s a place they have met up frequently before heading out together in the evening, but today she was probably tired of waiting and decided to jump-start her activities. Even coyotes can get bored!

leaping after a sound she heard, but coming up empty handed

She walked calmly along, following the line of the bushes, and stopped sporadically at whatever movements caught her eye. A couple of times she bounced fast and high over tall grasses, a little like a jackrabbit, towards something that caught her interest, but the prospective meal never panned out. So she continued on.

She stops to listen

Everything seemed quiet when she suddenly stopped, turned around, and looked into the distance. She listened intently, and then she began calling out. In between her calling out, during the silences, far, far into the distance, I could barely hear two other coyotes calling out (you will also hear a couple of domestic dogs barking). Our young female was responding. This video covers her responding. Her sporadic vocalizations went on for a couple of minutes (this video is the entirety of it) even after the others had ceased their end of the communication. When she was through, she trotted off in their direction. They would meet and greet, as I’ve seen them so often do, and then head out together on their evening trekking expedition, sticking together for a while as a family, splitting apart at time, and then coming together throughout the evening and until dawn.

Each coyote’s voice and pattern of sounds is identifiable and distinguishable by the other coyotes — not dissimilar to the way you recognize voices over the telephone. I myself am able to identify some of the coyotes by their vocalizations. 

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo Thompson
    Feb 25, 2021 @ 23:06:37

    <3

    Reply

  2. Jim Lilienthal
    Feb 26, 2021 @ 00:30:56

    That’s just terrific documentation, footage, and audio Janet. Presented in an appealing way too. Rather a coincidence that I was present at the same time that you were recording this. I had started out quite late, and wanting to get in about 75 min of reasonably aerobic exercise was intent on plowing ahead unless I had clear sighting of either the hawks or coyotes, which I didn’t. In fact when I ascended the steps out of the Park the way was very obscure at about 6:35. I was in the worst extreme of the Park (descending from upper NW) for either coyote visualization or audio triangulation when the communication began. I reckoned that the nexus of the howling was from the thickets below. But clearly at least this one, and maybe the others (as you know while I don’t) actually had location on some part of the now very growth enshrouded grassy hills. Great fun to receive this, and thanks! Jim

    Reply

  3. Linda Bolon SendOutCardsLinda Bolon
    Feb 26, 2021 @ 15:00:49

    A very informative video on the inner workings of the coyote family unit. Thank you as always, Janet.

    Reply

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