Howls and Listens

First there were sirens. Coyotes often respond to fire-engine or ambulance sirens. This older alpha male responded with howls as you hear here.

Then he stopped and listened. This is the part that’s most interesting to me: the listening. His family was responding to him. Notice him cocking and turning his head as he listens intently, trying to catch every meaningful sound in the reply howls of various family members — they are in the far distance, but you actually can hear them in the video.

His family consists of his mate and two of his mate’s yearling offspring. He himself joined the family only a year ago, shortly after the then-alpha-male died.

He was listening for WHO in his family was responding and where they were — each coyote has his own distinctive signature howl that includes a certain voice and pattern — I myself can distinguish some of these, and of course he would be able to discern their locations. Also, though, he was picking up on everything else being conveyed in their vocal responses conveyed by duration, tone, urgency or lack thereof, etc: there’s a lot of information there that we humans have not learned to decipher. Most of it, I believe, is emotional states. After discerning what he wanted to know, he then belted out his own long reply.

I have a whole page on vocalizations if you want to delve deeper: Coyote Voicings.

When he began kicking the dirt — a usually angry reaction — I turned around to see what had prompted him to do that. A walker and his dog had stopped close to me to listen, and the coyote appeared to be reacting negatively to that presence. Coyote often react to dogs and even intrusive photographers in this manner.

When the vocalizations stopped, the dog and owner walked on, and the coyote went in the direction of the howls he had solicited.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jo Thompson
    Jul 31, 2022 @ 11:51:19

    First of all … he is exquisite!!! What a gorgeous being.
    Second, I love the listening too. He is taking in so much information. We can only imagine. Thank you for sharing this.


  2. MelindaH
    Jul 31, 2022 @ 16:41:52

    What a beauty!


    • tish1961
      Jul 31, 2022 @ 20:28:56

      Hi Janet,

      Did you ever hear back from the WA FIsh and Wildlife about the then recently collared presuming male coyote? You were also thinking it may be a college or nearby university. In your experience will they remove it eventually or ?

      Thank you,

      Sent from my iPhone

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jul 31, 2022 @ 21:03:55

      Hi Tish — No, they never called me back or they led me to new phone trees that didn’t call back. Net result: Zero. Could you, again, please, send me their location. I put this on the back burner, but will try again right now. Janet

    • tish1961
      Jul 31, 2022 @ 21:27:29

      Hi Janet, I sent two emails to you. Two numbers for WA Fish and Wildlife / Biologists.

      Thank you!

      Sent from my iPhone

    • yipps:janetkessler
      Jul 31, 2022 @ 23:23:28

      I’ll call tomorrow. Did you try calling them? Janet

  3. conniechambers
    Jul 31, 2022 @ 18:31:02

    What a great video, and what a gorgeous coyote! Thanks for posting.


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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: