A dead battery?

The National Parks Service (NPS) “collars” Coyotes. As well, a lot of animals are collared by multiple entities and the collar tags given numbers to differentiate the data obtained from that collared animal. Interesting stuff, really! Take for instance P-22 or as some of you may know him, the Big Cat of Hollywood.

http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2013/11/14/a-cougar-ready-for-his-closeup/

The data from that collar provided insight on the comings and goings of an urban, male Mountain Lion. Best known for its photograph with the famous Hollywood sign in the back ground P-22 gained a lot of notoriety when it apparently consumed a Los Angeles Zoo Koala Bear for dinner.

To a lesser degree C- 144, an alpha-female Coyote and C-145, a male Coyote are being tracked through out Western Los Angeles.

https://www.nps.gov/samo/blogs/Location-Location-Location.htm

The alpha-female Coyote’s tracking data has raised some eye brows as she crosses the infamous Los Angeles Freeways seemingly at will. Based on the data and follow-up field assessments it appears urban animals have evolved or at least learned to survive just about anything humans can throw at them.   C-145 enjoys the leisurely life style of most young males, feeding and mating whenever the occasion arises. For what ever reason even though both Coyotes were tagged about the same time they never seem to cross paths. On a side note here: It should be pointed out that a lot of states and their larger communities are working to provide all wild life a safe means to cross freeway systems such as tunnels and walk-ways. Nonetheless, it would seem the animals in this review are not doing a bad job of finding their own way, Thank You Very Much! Ah but now comes the sad part of this story- the battery went dead. C-144 had just returned from one of her long jaunts, another eye-popping event as most alpha-female Coyotes seldom if ever leave their home turf. After only a day or so after her out of territory walk C-144 went blank. She was seen with the collar but obviously the collar was malfunctioning and is most probably attributed to a dead battery. Here is the problem, once tagged Coyotes are not often recaptured to be retagged. So now the previous C-144 is more a dead weight on the female Coyote’s torso. Will we see more of this female Coyote? Probably. She seems to have lasted a lot longer then her counterparts. Several more Coyote stories are coming in these days from Columbus Georgia up to New York and even further north to New Brunswick Canada. New Brunswick media reflected on last winter’s Coyote eliminations by a local fur trapper. He related that the local deer populations were down but Coyote numbers seemed greater then in years past. The trapper suggested that the Coyote numbers would fall as they rely on deer for a major part of their diets. Followers of this blog will recognize the relationship between Coyotes and food sources. Unfortunately, the urban animals don’t just rely on a single food source. Specifically, urban Coyotes have come to understand we humans discard sufficient food sources as well as shelter. Unlike the New Brunswick Fur Trapper above, readers understand that just like C-144 even though we can’t track her, from time to time we will see her.

Stay tuned, there is more to come from the Coyote Cam

Where does the material come from?

Some of you have asked about the source of my material. It all began several Christmas seasons ago with the gift of a Trail Camera.01160012

One other attribute to this story is the location of our home. My wife and I live just north of the community of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Our backyard abuts Bureau of Land Management acreage.  Three hundred yards to the east of the BLM property is a Bosque (Spanish for woodlands) that provides riprap for both sides of The Rio Grande River.  On the opposite side of the Rio Grande lies the Sandia Pueblo, a Native American Reservation.  I speak about our home location because for several years all manners of wildlife both feathered and fur bearing lived and hunted the Bosque.  Our sub-development was not as populated, or as noisy nor were there many other developments nearby in those days.  I had seen porcupines, raccoons and coyotes roaming about during that time but never close to the homes, that trend soon reversed itself.  A drought sat in and for the next two years the river started drying up.  Almost immediately, some of those Bosque critters were coming to neighborhood backyard bird feeders and water fountains to augment their diminishing food sources.  That was three years ago, that was the same year Santa Clause delivered my first trail camera.

The summer before the camera went up there was a terrible commotion in our garage one particularly hot night.  I had left the garage door opened just a few inches hoping for some cooler air.  Apparently, a raccoon had snuck in then helped himself to a stash of bird seed.  That varmint created such a mess it took two days to clean up and set things in order.  By now there was a regular game trail going on behind the back fence and emboldened rascals of the four legged persuasion, walking down the street in front of our house.  It was time to decide, coexist or find a way to rid our selves of the pests now frequenting our home.  We enjoy nature but it was getting a little too friendly.  The internet has a lot to offer on just about every subject, some references are good and others pretty bad.  This was also about the time that a few communities with in New Mexico were taking up Coyote Hunting Contests.  I retired January 1st, 2011 from the Regulation and Licensing Division and went to work almost immediately for the New Mexico Legislature as a Financial Analyst.  That job entailed determining what potential legislation would cost the tax payers.  One of the bills I reviewed was the concept of licensing Coyote Hunting Contests, more on that in another story.  Hard facts were in front of me and with my new desire to rid our home of pests, the future was set- almost.

The internet offered that efforts to exterminate Coyotes were futile at best, better to make the Coyote uncomfortable near your home.  The internet also carried stories about ongoing Coyote studies which could be verified, I emailed a couple of those leads.   I found there were a few columnists  who were very happy to share their references in addition to those I was gathering, the life of the Coyote was beginning to reveal itself.  The Coyote is not a complicated animal, it thrives were other animals have perished.  The Coyote is only a nuisance when it kills livestock or attacks the family pet and scares the bejebus out of inattentive home owners.   However, the story of the Coyote seems to be almost all negative hence the desire some have to eliminate it from their surroundings.

Now that I have a better grasp on the Coyote’s prescience it doesn’t seem as malevolent, it passes my yard by though I sometimes get his picture with my trail camera.  During cold nights his family will be photographed as they make their way to the old Bosque hunting grounds.

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A family at work

Two years ago there may have been a Coyote in the backyard, I found a big blood spot on the grass.  And too, one of the rabbits that fed on the grass went missing.  That is what nature is all about and every once in a while it will happen in your backyard.  I installed wire mesh on all the entry points rabbits use to access the grassy areas and made sure all of the birdfeeders are positioned over open, sandy soil which discourages small rodents.  I have learned to keep bird seed inside the garage in locked containers with all external doors closed tightly.  There has been no evidence of critters in the yard since!         I paid attention to the assimilation of Coyote material I was gathering and it seems to have paid off.

Have a great summer every one!!!  Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam!