Coyotes vs. Nutria, by Jen Sanford

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Nope, no birds involved, sorry.  At Ridgefield yesterday I watched a pair of coyotes try to take down a nutria and fail miserably.  I thought I was about to vomit my lunch while watching a nutria get torn in half, but nope.  He made a run for it down into the slough.  But it was still cool to watch.

From Janet: I want to point out that coyotes often hunt in pairs like this, especially when there is larger prey than a gopher involved. Also, coyotes, like the rest of us, don’t always have the same skill sets, most of which have to be learned through practice and through watching other coyotes. All the bites by the coyotes were to the nutria’s back: I wonder if they were trying to break its back to incapacitate it?  Or, might they have been trying to pick it up to carry it off, but unable to do so? It looks like the nutria endured several puncture wounds — I hope its injuries were not too severe. Nutrias were “eradicated” from California, but they still inhabit Oregon. Thanks, Jen, for sharing your posting and superb photos!

This posting and photographs were republished, with permission, from Jen’s site i used to hate birds.

Hunting In Tall Grass

I saw this lone coyote four times in the same morning. First, it was hunting way in the distance — it did not catch anything.

Then I encountered it again, headed towards me on a path around a bend, so we didn’t see each other until we were fairly close. Instead of taking off, lickety-split, this coyote casually looked at me before it wandered away from in a fairly leisurely, not too hurried manner: there was no intensity to its behavior.

Right after that I spotted it a third time, hugging along the edge of some bushes where it was harder to see it — it was obviously trying to avoid running into anyone. I should say that few people are in the parks when I see coyotes: I think when people are around, the coyotes just don’t come out so much. The exception to this observation is when a coyote comes out specifically to “monitor” dogs: to keep an eye on dogs, especially those which have previously chased it and to make sure these dogs head out of the park.

Then I spotted this same coyote a fourth time as it hunted in the tall grass. It saw me in the distance, but continued its hunting endeavor — it was obviously onto something, and it may have been hungry. What was fun here, which I didn’t capture particularly well in the photos, was that the coyote was almost totally hidden from view, but would “bounce up” above the tall grass every few seconds to get a view of its surroundings, then it would descend again! These photos show the highest level of the bounce. I was not able to capture the curved back nor the total disappearance of this hunter. Obviously it was a delicious catch. Please notice the exceptionally beautiful white markings of this coyote!