Denning Challenges and Choices. And Good Moms. By Walkaboutlou

Hi Janet, 

I wanted to share with you a student’s observations and leanings. Which lead to more questions. 

Kinky Tail continues to raise her very active litter. There are 7 either there was a miscount originally or 2 have disappeared. They think 2 pups have disappeared because there is a local golden eagle who for years has been seen with coyote pups, fox kits and feral cats. It seasonally comes to this area during lambing and calving times. It has been seen daily flying over den areas.

That well may have encouraged Kinky to move pups as well as..ticks. Locally we’ve seen plague level numbers of ticks. And Kinkys grooming times with pups seemed very long last week. Her last den area was absolutely infested with 3 species of ticks. Ugh.

Now however, Kinky moved pups to a rendezvous of log piles, poison oak bushes, and grazing cattle. 

The student says she doesn’t believe the location was randomly picked. 

The abundance of poison oak keeps people out except rarely riders of horse or quads passing thru. Ranch folk.  

The grazed range grass is short and doesn’t hold high tick densities compared with long grasses or brush areas. 

And finally, having an entire cow to scavenge 2 miles away after move means less animals near pups (scavengers galore) and Kinky doesn’t have to hunt the longer grass fields for voles. Which mean tick pick up. She has the cow or many dozens of caches. Also discovered was she visits an orchard and gleans old fallen Apple’s from last Fall.

This Student feels Kinky’s choice of den was premeditated and thought carefully out. It has minimal tick numbers. Humans rarely come and pass quickly. It’s open with vast vistas and hillsides yet has hiding places for pups. The Longhorns don’t encourage canine visitors. It’s close to dead cow but far enough pups don’t meet scavengers.

She also is study wild turkey brood site selections and says the studies lend to each other. Wild Turkey Hens need to sit on eggs around 28 days. The picked site is obviously paramount. A poorly picked site is disastrous. There are hens that pick poorly or lose patience or dedication and leave eggs too long as well. Then there are hens that cover eggs while minimally foraging for bugs and food and rush back fast. How a Hen Broods means Everything. And not all hens are good moms. 

She says it’s same for Coyote. Some mothers are functional but rather minimal. Or make bad choices. Some..seem to be absolutely dedicated mothers. She feels most coyote are very dedicated Moms. 

So how much is choice and thought when picking a site to hide and raise your kids? She feels Kinky Tail is neighborhood cognizant. 

In her words “No wolf gang signs. No noisy dog parties. No bad nosy people. Riding thru people that she’s known since pup and plenty of longhorns and poison oak seem the latest mood and pic”

Kinky is doing well. She has 7 very active very fat pups. She’s busy busy busy. By day she stays at den. At night it’s cow scavenging, cow caches and long long drinks. And some nights old apples. She grooms her pups even as she comes home bedraggled. Growls briefly but playfully at Mate as he leaves for day shift. 

Real Estate Realities are working out for Kinky. 


A Story of Positivity For the New Year, by Walkaboutlou

Hi Janet,

I enjoy watching a variety of animals. And could spend lifetimes studying. Learning an ecosystem, an area, and patterns takes ages…literally. I can only be content with connections now. But even those inspire. My frustration with modern man systematically hurting life is only balanced by the knowledge that nature will reassert itself in time. Inexorably the universe and cycles will outlast our ways. I don’t claim to know how exactly — but nature always “cleans house” and reasserts its cycles. I suspect mankind will tamper with weather or virus or cycles that will bring about disaster for man. But another era for animals.

I was given some comfort by a local coyote that strengthened me much.

Peg Leg is an “old” coyote who was allowed to hold territorial reign on a remote area of ranchlands some years. He had 2 mates over the years, and successfully reared at least 7 litters. Many pups stayed and eventually took adjoining areas. Peg Leg limped his way through hunts and patrols with true strength. He scavenged deer and bulked up impressively. He was big, bold, and calm. His front left leg, healed but fused straight, lacked mobility. But Peg Leg lacked nothing.

I heard last summer he lost his territory. Several coyotes, possibly fleeing wolf expansion, had displaced Peg Leg and his mate and pack.

I hadn’t seen him for months. Of course felt saddened at the end of the era. But when I spotted him on a distant hill a few days ago, there he was, fit, full, and at ease. He watched us a short time, I believe he recognized us, ……and started tossing a stick.

In my human mind, loss of territory, pack, and control are devastating. I cannot know what Peg Leg thought or felt. But I do know, alone in that hill, he seemed fine. Even playful. His tail was high. His gray face enjoyed the sun. And before he stiffly trotted off, he marked and scratched boldly.

It was just what I needed to see. There are no guarantees in life. Very few happily ever after. And certainly no retirement benefits for aged coyote. It matters little. Peg Leg was still alive. Still indomitable. And still happy enough to toss sticks.

We all have to roll the dice and face life. And the roll often doesn’t go our way. When life is hard, I will forever remember stick tossing Peg Leg. Undaunted, he trots forward as only a coyote can.

Trot long Janet,

“Studying and learning from nature is something I do every day. I have NEVER seen a coyote, raven, crow, etc..feel sorry for itself. And I have met several badgers and one brief moment of a wolverine. There is an indomitable, unbeaten indescribable aura that fills many wild animals. I choose that aura every day. And will keep doing so in all things. So times are tough. But it’s up to us to be tougher. We can make that choice that is reality in nature.

Not long ago I watched some ranch bison grazing in terrible weather (from a distance) The freezing rain meant nothing to them. They grazed half frozen grass in the most content way. And in pure strength and peace. All animals emanate good things we can discern and receive in ourselves. I may look like a tired guy at times. But in my heart the imagery and lessons of coyote, bison, wolverine, bear, wolves etc…never stop.”


Hi Janet,

Another update on “Peg Leg” an older male coyote who seemed to have lost his territory/pack/mate…

He was seen this evening “stuffed” from feeding on mice among cattle. When the cattle settled, so did he. He also was seen….with his old mate!

So he’s not alone. He may have lost old territory, but not his mate. Or his appetite.

Peg Leg continues to thrive and adapt. And be his jaunty self.


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