A few readers will remember the Coyote Cam June 30th story this past summer entitled “Dead Battery.” The story described data collared animals specifically a male Mountain Lion, P-22 and two Coyotes- a female and a male bearing collar’s C-144 and C-145 respectively living around Santa Monica, California. Now P- 45, a male Cougar is in the news taking a rancher’s pet Alpacas and Sheep near Santa Monica, California. Authorities have issued a depredation license to the Santa Monica rancher, he may shoot P-45 on sight. What does this have to do with the Coyote Cam?
Most, if not every story on this site ends with a reminder to all residents that it is important to minimize the reasons wild animals hang around our homes. Food and shelter are open invitations to wild life to “sit and stay awhile.” Today we will revisit our mantra – remove all food and eliminate all shelter. Starting with my favorite, the bird feeder. Some might argue it is not the feeder that draws larger animals it is the unintended collateral (rodents – squirrels, mice, and even rats) draw. We have all watched birds come to our feeders and nibble away, uneaten seeds dropping to the ground. Birds ignore dropped seeds knowing that more seeds are right in front of them on or in the feeder. OK – pigeons and doves are ground seed eaters and they will go to the ground in search of seeds. It is the seeds dropped to the ground that creates problems! Rodents, along with the pigeons and doves, have learned that non-ground birds feeding always manage to drop seeds to the ground. A learned trait that can be altered by humans insuring the ground seeds are eliminated. So how does one eliminate ground seeds and in turn, the rodents? Practically speaking – not much. Bare ground seems to work best as ground feeding birds tend to be more active during daylight hours and very seldom leave seeds behind. This author’s bird feeders reside just over the back wall with barren ground underneath. Most days will see the ground under the feeders scratched clean of seeds, nothing left at all! The problem here is that ground feeding birds have become less numerous due to raptors such as Falcons, Hawks and Owls.
Mentioned above were shelters aka dens. In one example of the mountain lions- one was found in the crawl space under a home. That one was easy but what about the Coyote family living under Soldier Stadium parking lot in Chicago? Animals have learned over time to adapt to what ever is available. Ever check to see what is living in or under that pile of cold weather fire wood right out your back door? If I were a betting man I would be willing to bet even money that what ever lives in or under the fire wood pile has four legs and it will be either the hunted or the hunter. Yeah, and what about that old culvert that runs under the road a short distance from your front door? Yes it did rain a lot during the summer and water was running through it but it is dry now and will be until spring and summer returns. Maybe what ever is living there isn’t in the culvert but in the sides of the banks which works just as well for digging a hole or den. Even deep depressions in fields offer protection from weather. “Home is where the heart (dry, soft warm earth) is.” The closer the two ingredients (food and shelter) are the more likely one will see Coyotes! If those ingredients happen to be near humans those humans will soon see new unwanted neighbors that never leave.
As noted in the opening remarks about the Cougar and the rancher, both reside in an urban area hence chance encounters are almost assured. Here in New Mexico and living in an urban area adjacent to open Bureau of Land Management property there are many opportunities to see all manners of wild life. Nearby human residents have found walking trails through the Bosque (river woods) next to the Rio Grand River. Sadly, those trails are also the home to many of the critters mentioned in these articles. Fifteen years ago a raccoon visit our opened garage, thankfully nothing important was harmed. The furry critter did manage to leave an imprint of his front paws on a cardboard box as a reminder to close the garage door! Simply put – close all outside doors securely, do not rely on those screen doors to keep wildlife out! Regardless of where one lives these days the Coyotes are or will be soon prowling through your yards. Multiple sights are coming in and folks need to pay attention. From Cornwall-on-Hudson New York to Sterling Heights Michigan to Beaverton Oregon Coyotes are causing people to stop and take notice that new and unwanted neighbors have moved in (Really? They have been here all along!).
Stay Tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam
Be sure to enjoy the Christmas Holidays with family and friends!