The Birthing Rock

Every year, soon-to-be-dads wait out the birthing event. Their job is to stay away and to keep a lookout not far from the den area to ensure that everything remains safe for the birthing mother and pups. Birthing, of course, is a vulnerable time for all of us, and the male, in this manner, puts extra effort into his mate’s and offspring’s protection and security, and goes the extra mile for their needs, including bringing home food. For me, this activity has always served as a sort of secret “birth announcement”!

Of particular interest is the fellow above on the rock. For years now, when the time comes, he hangs out on the same rock regularly for up to a couple of hours a day for several days as his mate gives birth. Because of this, I call it “the birthing rock”. Several days ago, I decided, “it’s time”: I had seen these two mate a couple of months earlier.  I began visiting the rock daily. When you can predict coyote behavior, there’s a feeling that maybe you’ve “arrived”: that you know coyotes as well as it is possible to know them. For several years now, I’ve been able to predict a bunch of behaviors, which always impresses those I’m talking to as much as it impresses me myself! :))  I’ll state what is about to happen, and then it happens! So I knew this guy would imminently be on the birthing rock, and within a few days of looking for him, there he was!

So pups are either being born or have already been born here in San Francisco. Another tell-tale sign will be lactating mothers, if you can find one: behaviorally, most coyote mothers I know generally keep themselves more secluded and hidden when their pups are very young: maybe this is a security precaution — keeping themselves out of danger’s way — to make sure they are around to nurture and take care of their growing and dependent pups. In many coyote moms, their condition is pretty much concealed, especially in younger moms, but in others, especially older mothers, their maternal state is more obvious, as seen below. They will be lactating through the beginning of June when regurgitated and then solid food begin taking over.