This weekend started out like most Saturday’s do, turn on the coffee maker and retrieve the paper from our front drive. Only this morning was a bit different. While opening the paper and looking down the hill I spotted a Coyote. Spotting a Coyote around here is not uncommon but to see one not skulking along the fence line or amongst the tall weeds is different. There is a game trail just off our back fence where the Coyote Cam sets specifically to photograph the coyotes (other critters as well). Now to be honest, there have not been many Coyote (let alone other animals) being photographed in the last few months.
Coyotes were only found in the southwest early on in our country’s history. Today, Coyotes are found from coast to coast and as far north as Alaska and as far south as Honduras in Central America. Their territories have expanded because of the animal’s ability to thrive in adverse conditions! No other predator has expanded its territory like the Coyote. Their dens have been found under stadium parking lots, they have been photographed crossing busy intersections and walking across frozen bays.
How does the Coyote survive in these conditions? Why was a Coyote spotted out in the open just down the hill from my home?
Human acceptance of the Coyote in our environment has made the Coyote unafraid of us. As our country expanded from the colonies to where it is today, we have built up to and into previous rural and undeveloped lands. The desire to go from point a to point b requires that we build four (maybe six) lane highways to get us ever more quickly to our destinations. Wild life is being forced into an ever decreasing areas with limited food sources. Wild life has found that humans are not necessarily good neighbors and all but the Coyote continues to flee in the face of the onslaught. Back when the Coyote was found only in the southwest it was not the alpha predator. Wolves were the primary canines. For clarity here it should be noted that Wolves are strictly carnivores whereas Coyotes vary their diets relying on small animals for their protein substituting berries and seeds at other times. Wolves prayed on Coyotes when ever large game were not readily available. Mountain Lions hunted the Coyote and bears would kill the unwary Coyote whenever the opportunity arose. The Coyote soon acquired stealth as part of their survival techniques. These days and with the large predator’s numbers greatly reduced the Coyote has no enemies and less reason to remain unseen. Humans supply food and shelter and the Coyotes take advantage of the freebies! Is life good or what?
Drawing to a close this issue will again repeat the mantra of a Coyote free neighborhood.
- If you feed your pets outside make sure to clean up. No food bowls left outside! Food debris is picked up and placed in garbage containers.
- Garbage containers are securely latched!
- Bird feeders are checked daily removing any seed from the ground. Fallen seed draws mice, rats and squirrels which in turn is the magic buffet Coyotes enjoy!
- Check the wood pile to ensure there aren’t rodents or Coyotes living inside.
- Get rid of any structure that might provide a Coyote den.
- Check the neighborhood and eliminate any draw a Coyote would find useable! That median in the middle of the street can house Coyotes given ample foliage like trees and shrubs.
Stay tuned – There is more to come on the Coyote Cam.