Photos from “Beyond The Howl” at the Randall Museum

A few images from my Sausalito Exhibit, “Beyond The Howl”, are on display for the next six months at the Josephine Randall Jr. Museum in San Francisco. If you are visiting the museum, stop by to see them, and reflect on how amazing it is that we have these highly social critters right here in San Francisco as neighbors!

The ten images displayed depict different coyote behaviors that most people never see — seeing them will make you more aware of what being a coyote is really like. A photo is an instant slice in time of an entire sequence of events which come before and after a photo is taken. Knowing the entire sequence gives added meaning to any single slice in time, so I’ll expand on the images a little here.

Referring to the images displayed at the Randall:

Coyotes display intense innate curiosity about everything and about each other: in image #4 a coyote is watching a sibling bury something which this fella then unburies and swipes for himself — so this image is also about the “trickster” for which coyotes are so famously known. Image #7 is of a distressed and angry coyote — yes, coyotes have intense feelings — jumping up on her hind legs and howling (no recording in the museum, to hear these, go to Coyote Voicings) after being chased by a dog. There’s an image of a wounded coyote after a territorial battle with another coyote (#5): he’s tattered and limping painfully — territorial battles are common and can alter a coyote’s life absolutely from stable to vulnerable if you happen to be the loser. There is an image of two youngsters hopping all over Pop (#6) revealing the affection between pups and parents in coyote families — Dad is right in there helping to raise the youngsters.

Then there’s an image showing intense sibling rivalry (#1) — these previous best friends have devolved into arch enemies — which occurs in almost all coyote families as the youngsters get older. Other behaviors depicted are affection (#2) which is displayed openly and frequently in the coyote world; touching and prodding (#3 and #8) are forms of physical communication serving to emphasize something (yep!), and close, intimate visual communication as seen in the above photo (#9) can be a heart-pounding sight when you know this one coyote is desperately soliciting acceptance from the family he’s being dispersed from by a third coyote. These ten photos include just nine different coyotes from just four of the many families I follow. Two text-panels explaining urban coyotes and dog/coyote behaviors are included. None of what I have just said in these last two paragraphs will make any sense until you see the photos, so go see them!

Enjoy these images while you take in a snack at the Randall’s new cafe, the Cafe Josephine, and then take a look around at the exhibits and classes offered for all ages! The museum will always be special to me because of all the many classes we took there as my kids grew up, and because my youngest kid volunteered there for many years as a pre-teen and flew the resident Harris’ Hawk, named Betty, to exercise her.

My “Myca of Twin Peaks” images were on display at the Randall for over six years, until they closed the building for renovation several years ago. The museum reopened last year, and now they’ve again made room for some of my coyote behavior images!

Photos: All Wet in San Francisco

It’s been raining. Yay! Before last year, San Francisco went through a four-year drought, so we love the rain here. I don my rain gear and go splash in the puddles.

Coyotes don’t mind the rain, though I don’t know if they actually *like* it. It’s during rains that gophers, voles and other rodents come to the surface to keep from drowning in their underground tunnels — coyotes seem to know this.
And when a coyote shakes out her rain-wetted coat, dirt that has accumulated gets tossed out as well.

Here are a couple of shots of wet coyotes from the last couple of rains. In the first photo, droplets are clinging to each fur and to the coyote’s whiskers — and the camera caught the rain coming down around her. The second photo is of a totally soaked coyote — she’s been out in the rain for a while!

Fatherhood

Two youngsters dart in for food from Dad — the two very active coyotes in the video are pups who are approaching, but not quite yet, 6 months of age.  Dad regurgitates the food — it looks like whole voles — and the two pups feed in a frenzy. They continue to insert their snouts in his mouth in an attempt to get more food — it’s like an assault!  He gently and repeatedly clasps their snouts in his mouth: Is he indicating that there’s no more food to be had, and/or is he confirming his dominance?  Note at 42 seconds that a pup crosses Dad’s path by going under him!

It appears that Dad is the one to approach for food like this these days. I have not seen this set of pups approach their mother recently in this fashion. Rather, she sits in the distance and watches all the activity — safe from the onslaught!

Curiosity Begins At A Young Age

I have no idea what this little coyote was observing, but it must have been very interesting because he spent a great deal of time watching it, interspersed with occasionally looking around at the surroundings. His attention always went back to whatever was drawing his attention on the ground in front of him.

Curiosity is a signature characteristic of coyotes who spend lots of time looking at things to figure them out. When this four-month-old had had enough — or got bored — he got up, yawned and ambled into the bushes.

Happy Summer Solstice! A Summer Gallery of Six Photos

I decided to post a gallery of six photos to celebrate the longest day of the year — the Summer Solstice — and the coming of Summer. No story is attached, except I like these photos taken yesterday! Click on any one to enlarge it, and then scroll through them. For more photos without stories, visit Urbanwildness.com.