A look back

The Coyote Cam started as a lark some few years back but only this year has it evolved into a concerted effort to study Coyotes and their habitats. The following is a simplistic overview of how Coyotes came to be in our neighborhoods. A few things about Coyotes are fact; Coyotes adapt, Coyotes thrive where other animals fail, and Coyotes will always be with us. It is hoped that the sharing of this material will provide some Coyote knowledge to all who follow this blog.  Coyotes are not going away, learning to coexist is a better alternative.

Long before civilization began to intrude on wild life Coyotes had a few predators- mainly wolves, mountain lions and some times, bobcats. Life was good for the Coyote as they would often feast on animals killed by the larger predators. Unfortunately, the Coyote became the next meal when those larger predators returned to reclaim their kills. The Coyotes soon understood that in order to survive they would need to expand their food sources to avoid being eaten themselves. Avoiding those larger predators the Coyote developed stealth or as some call it – shape sifting. Coyotes are stealthy but stealthy only goes so far when you are hungry. The Coyotes were not picky eaters then or now so the smaller game population of rabbits and squirrels provided an alternative to hazardous left over carcasses. Not only were the smaller game less attractive to the wolves, mountain lions and bobcats but the squirrels and rabbits often had larders of seeds and berries. The Coyotes learned that rabbits and squirrels equated to seeds and berries which could be another food source in difficult times.

About the time civilization (farmers & ranchers) showed up Coyotes found that their predators were disappearing. Any time ranchers and farmers lost livestock it wasn’t the lowly little Coyote’s fault, it was the larger predators killing the livestock. If a framer or rancher could shoot anything with four legs it was probably going to be the larger predators – wolves, mountain lions and bobcats.  To put it simply, the Coyote saw and learned that when man showed up it was hiding time.  The Coyote had a long history of being stealthy and it was probably that trait that saved the species for years to come.  As the Coyote’s predators were thinned out by man the Coyotes expanded into new territories and thrived. New and larger hunting areas, better den sites, larger families.  Life was good.

Life was good as long as agriculture was the core industry of the Coyote’s environment.  Alas, the world was evolving. Agriculture was giving way to manufacturing – the new industry! Some ranchers and farmers found that they could sell off some of their acreage to developers and acquire more land further away from cities.  As more and more land was being converted to home sites there was less and less agriculture, man was moving into the Coyote’s neighborhood.  Barely a hundred years has passed and man is living in what used to be the Coyotes backyard, a few generations later and man is now the Coyote’s next door neighbor.  Wait a minute here – man is at the hierarchy of life so why is it that man is considered the new entity on the Coyote’s block?  Current media reports that Coyotes are appearing in our neighborhoods so how is it that Man is considered “the new guy on the Coyote’s block?”  At first this new arrival was more deadly then the Coyote’s former predators.  Hunting territory was cut into fenced off lots, vegetation which provided concealment for the Coyote was cut down and replaced by roads. Vehicles that traveled the roads killed Coyotes (and their prey) in large numbers.  Coyotes are resilient, they remembered what it was like to be hunted. The Coyote retreated into the background but they did not go away!  Their numbers were fewer because both their hunting territories and available den sites were being reduced as humans built ever larger homes.

Ah – but the humans brought with them pets and backyard feeders. In addition to those pet and backyard feeders Coyotes found that many humans threw out uneaten foods – garbage? By golly these humans are good neighbors after all, they build city parks around their homes! The trees in the park grow old, the old trees have hollows and cavities good for dens.  Some previous Coyote hunting grounds were being converted into human entertainment, baseball parks, football stadiums and best of all – huge parking lots like the one at Solder Stadium in Chicago. The Coyote Cam reader will remember that Soldier Stadium is also home to a family of Coyotes.  Looks like the good times have returned if you are a Coyote.

Get out there and enjoy a walk this Spring!

Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam.

On the other hand, Coyote Hunting

For some time this blog has been dedicated to urban interaction with Coyotes.  A few readers asked why not look at the Coyote from the other side?  The urban Coyote has a comfortable life compared to the suburbs or worse yet, rural lands.  For the remainder of this year (2017) we will shift our focus to Coyote survival in rural areas.  The farmer’s and rancher’s lively hood is at stake every day with weather as the primary detriment and livestock predation a close second.  The USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service is referenced for this and other articles. Sheep and lamb mortality can be as high as 80 percent in some cases almost entirely due to Coyote predation.  Cattle are much larger and hence their size poses a problem for Coyotes but not one that can’t be over come.  The young and sick have always been targets for predators and cattle are no exception.  Cattle ranchers constantly struggle with predation and calving operations are extremely vulnerable to the coyote when mom and dad coyote are teaching their pups!  When the average size livestock loss is running over $50,000 per year something has to be done.  Fare warning here, the following material may not be suitable for all readers.

 

 When Buffalo roamed the American prairies the Wolf, for many years, reigned supreme as the canine alpha predator!  The lowly Coyote learned to survive using stealth and cunning to evade the Wolf as well other predators.  Alas, as the human migration pushed ever westward the Wolf was hunted to the verge of extinction.  Trappers and commercial hunters severely reduced wild life populations (think buffalo) but it was the settlers who had the most detrimental impact on the alpha predator population!  Farmers and ranchers saw the Wolf, Mountain Lion and Bear as the primary reason for livestock losses!  As a result the Coyote’s primary nemesis was eliminated and the Coyote’s hunting territory expanded as well as his reproductive activity.  Interestingly, many studies have shown that Coyotes live about six to eight years in the wild.  Conversely, in captivity Coyotes can live twelve plus years.  Other studies found that during the least stressful periods wild Coyote pups survival averages around one or two pups out of six.  Amazingly, when external pressures exist (hunting or higher level predators) pup survival can be 100 percent.  In the case of elevated pressures suggestions are that with the removal of the adult Coyotes the pups have more on which to survive.

 

 

Coyote hunting contests have been around for years although on a smaller scale following the demise of the Coyote’s predators. 

early-coyote-hunting
Early Coyote Hunting

The agriculture community would come together to hunt the Coyotes as needed.  Returning home to the Southwest part of the country in the late 60s a few ex-helicopter pilots found new jobs shooting Coyotes with a shotgun from their low flying helicopters.

helicoyotehunting
Helicopter Coyote Shooter

The Coyote Cam reader has probably heard of the “Duck Call,” “Goose Call,” and a “Turkey Call,”  The next advance in Coyote Hunting came with the mechanical Coyote Call.  Coyote Calling has become big business as there are no licenses required to hunt the Coyote. 

coyote-call-results
Coyote Caller and Results

Today, Coyote Hunting has become a contest to see who can harvest the maximum numbers of Coyotes over a given weekend with a trophy or reward given out.  Several gun shops around the southwest, in conjunction with a few farmers and ranchers, have devised an annual Coyote Hunting Contest.  What is interesting is that even after these events the next season’s Coyote population shows little, if any, reduction in numbers.

 

 

 

Stay tuned, there is more to come on the Coyote Cam.

 

Walk through The Rio Grande Bosque

Just when you think you understand all that there is to know about Coyotes they will fool you (me!). A recent news article from suburban Detroit describes a home owner waking to the sound of braking glass.  Another person living there also responded to the braking glass and together they found a Coyote sprawled on the floor beneath a broken dinning room window.  They immediately called animal control officers who removed the Coyote from the couple’s home.  As the officers were walking away from the house the home owners returned to clean up the broken glass and over turned furniture.  Surprised, the home owners found yet another Coyote in a comatose state underneath the over turned furniture.  They yelled for the animal control officers to come back and retrieve the now staggering Coyote.  Now this being that time of the year when Coyotes are romantically engaged it would not be farfetched to imagine that one of the Coyotes was either running in fear or was being pursued.  We don’t know which was which since the sex of either Coyote was not divulged in the news article.  Nonetheless, the lead Coyote must not have seen the window but imagined it as a path of freedom and the following Coyote was hot on its heels.  Food or a potential mate is the driving force in the animal kingdom but through a glass window?  Hmm . . . .

The above article’s readers were discussing the elimination of these uninvited guests and trouble makers. A few folks apparently put their mouths in motion (pen to paper / hit the send button) before engaging their brains.  Conversely, the folks who read this blog know that the State of New Mexico as well as Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas (dang near every state in the union for that matter) prohibit discharging firearms inside city limits.  It seems our Canadian neighbors in Kirkland, Montréal have similar laws on discharging weapons in inside municipal boundaries.

coyote-caught-in-leghold-trap

Sadly, the use of leg traps (steel jawed) is still permitted in some areas but again, pretty well discouraged by many state wild life agencies specifically near human habitations.  Think about Spot or Fluffy or worse yet, a young child being snared by a leg trap.

vet-helping-trapped-cat

Most state wild life agencies do permit the use of “padded” leg traps but even those have alarms that electronically alert that the trap has been tripped.  Having said this many times before –  Once you have seen a Coyote in your neighborhood it is probably too late to get rid of them.  The dens and hunting areas are well established by the time you see these fur covered menaces!

Some say Coyotes are the reason for missing pets and for that reason the Coyote should be exterminated. There are other reasons for deterring Coyotes such as rabies and mange.  Both of these illnesses can be transmitted to Spot or Fluffy by unhealthy Coyotes.  This past summer of 2016 saw several people in California bitten by a supposed rabid Coyote while a local Albuquerque Coyote recently recorded by a local TV station, was found to be suffering from a sever case of mange.  Sick animals are usually easy to spot and for that reason may serve as a warning sign there are problems coming soon to a yard near you.  Coyotes are increasingly less fearful of humans though when confronted they will skulk off and disappear.  The Coyotes are not gone they have moved beyond where humans habitually look for them and there they will hide until we leave that area.

This author use to hunt (in the early days with a gun though now with cameras) and the one thing that never escapes my thoughts is that the Coyote will let humans pass very closely before they react. The nearby Bosque (wooded area bordering the Rio Grande River) provides a great walk through nature.  The river draws migrating water fowl making their journeys south in the winter and returning north in the spring.  While the river is not fished it does have sufficient water flow that encourages wild life to seek water and shelter along its banks and wooded areas.  Coyotes are common to this area and are sometimes seen attempting to take a drowsy duck or inattentive goose that has drifted too close to the river’s edge.  Many times I have walked by a scrub oak bush or mesquite bramble only to scare a Coyote (and myself as well) into a rapid retreat.  If cornered the Coyote will defend itself, if there is an escape route the Coyote will depart at a high rate of speed!  It should be noted that local Coyotes remain less aggressive then being reported elsewhere.  Fortunately there haven’t been any reported cases of mange or rabies reported here.  Our Bosque appears to be healthy.

 

Stay tuned there is more to come on the Coyote Cam.

Who is out there?

M2E1L0-1R350B320
The Family

It is that time of the year when Mom and Dad Coyote are pushing last year’s pups out the door and beginning a new family. Mom and Dad will be seen running with the now mature pups.  Some folks tend to call these groups packs (wolfs hunt in packs) but in fact for Coyotes it is just a family outing.  Randomly Coyotes sometimes do hunt as a unit but those times are rare.  More often then not Coyotes tend to be lone, opportunistic predators.  The Coyote families are starting to disperse as winter progresses, we see them in our neighborhoods. Coyotes are becoming more habituated all the time as reflected in many previous Coyote Cam articles.  National Geographic has a fine article which expands on the dos and don’ts of co-existing with city type Coyotes and this blog’s readers will recognize the article’s recommendations.

Cold Paws
What Snow?

Following today’s officer elections of the “Friends of Rio Rancho Open Space” we discussed the various critters roaming about our section of the Rio Grand Bosque.  Seems the Coyote was getting a lot of reviews.  More importantly for our mostly suburban area is that the number of feral hogs is on the rise, those varmints cause terrible destruction to lawns and gardens.  Unfortunately and as our group would agree, predator numbers will rise along with the food source provided by the feral hog piglets.  More Coyotes can be a good and or a bad thing depending on their environment.  Generally speaking, most city residents will not see feral hogs running about.  However, those of  us living in the suburban areas often have to endure domesticated farm animals (in the city this includes dogs and cats) going wild or feral.  These animals are especially hard to control as they stay close to homes.  As has been addressed in this blog on previous occasions, trapping and shooting unwanted animals in and around these locations is highly prohibitive.  On a positive note Coyotes provide suburban dwellers an alternative toward controlling unwanted feral animals.  On the negative side, when the feral animals are gone the elevated number of Coyotes often become our new unwanted neighbors.

The new year is upon us and winter is casting a chill almost every where in our country.   Many folks prefer to remain inside their warm homes at this time of the year.  Sadly, following the Holiday season is also the worst time of the year for depression or “cabin fever.”  Want a really great mental boost?  If the sun is shinning get outside if only for a few minutes.  If you are able to take a short walk it is a good time to look out and about your neighborhood to see what tracks are in the newly fallen snow or wet ground.  OK – if your home is in frost bite city be sure to take precautions before going outside!  Make sure to get out and about for a few minutes if you are able to safely do so.

If you haven’t done so go back and click on the links above. The National Geographic article is a really good read and the FORROS web site might just inspire you to take a more active interest in your own neck of the woods.  The Coyote Cam is gathering news from around the country and hopefully, will be more closely associated with a national group in the near future.  Any one desiring to ask questions or submit articles for use are encouraged to email the Coyote Cam.

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

Happy New Year

Good bye 2016 and Hello 2017! Time for a change but human nature changes very slowly.  Coyote news reports from across the country remain consistent, people ignore the laws of nature and pets (especially small pets) suffer.  Sad to say another family pet was lost in Chicago and what was worse is that it happened on Christmas Day.  The tragic story involves three specific traits; Coyote numbers are on the rise, People think it is ok to feed wildlife, People think that just because their pets were safe last week the pets will be safe this week too.  Combine all three of these traits and a recipe for disaster is set in motion. Even though the number of reported Coyote incidents has risen dramatically many more go unreported.  There have been more pets lost this year then in any other year and that number will continue to rise.

Many citizens attend public meetings seeking information to eliminating the “Coyote” problem every week. During each of those meetings an authority will advise the attendees there are multiple issues needing correction before the Coyote threat can be reduced.  Some of those discussions will reflect that the process of eliminating the Coyote threat carries unintended consequences such as possible injuries to pets and humans.  Prior issues of the Coyote Cam speaks to poisons and leg traps for those not familiar with the unintended consequences of attempting to eliminate Coyotes.  Most authorities advise that Coyotes are often seen well before they become a nuisance and that is the best time to be proactive in Coyote elimination!  As soon as the first Coyote is seen in the immediate area residents should look for the attractant that drew the Coyote to them.  This is a great time to introduce yourself to your neighbors if you haven’t done so already!  Many neighborhoods have “Crime Watch” organizations and those folks bring a lot of eyes so why not watch for Coyotes as well as bad guys.  Some of you might put the Coyote and bad guys in the same bag but they are different, one is a creature of nature while the other is a creature with only bad intentions.  Pooling the resources of neighborhood watch associations can be the first line of defense against Coyote problems!

One of your neighbors is stand offish and not the joining type. I can hear the murmurings of readers growing louder!  In the case of a Neighborhood Watch Organization this is not really  a problem as others can be relied on to augment the nonconformist.  However, when it comes to yard maintenance and picking up after pets the nonconformist becomes the focal point for Coyotes.  There will always be a nonconforming individual in the neighborhood crowd, someone who is not reasonable or responsible.  This is where the local health or code enforcement authorities will make a difference, one call to those authorities and the nonconformist can rely on random checks through out the year.  Some communities with strong health / code enforcement agencies establish a list as they realize nonconforming individuals need the proper motivation to clean up their home and lawns.  Yeah that first call to health / code enforcement can be tough but the positive outcome could result in a nicer neighborhood and one free of Coyotes.  The object is to encourage the Coyotes to go elsewhere and that is one of the goals of this blog, helping to better understand Coyotes and their habitats.

City and suburban areas are fairly easy to protect once one knows what to look for but the urban and agricultural areas will most certainly have an ongoing Coyote issue. A Coyote problem requiring sterner means of control, proactive here means terminating the critters.  Unfortunately, this is where Coyote experts have learned that termination is not one hundred percent certain!  Over the years Coyotes have learned to not only survive but thrive in impossible situations.  In almost each and every case where Coyotes have been killed the following season sees an uptick in numbers.  Mother nature abhors a vacuum and the Coyote validates that theory.  Once the Coyote has established a territory they instinctively increase their numbers when ever the current numbers decrease.  The final point in conjunction with the afore mentioned concepts is that once a Coyote has established its territory there is little to no chance of eliminating its progeny!  Act when the first Coyote is seen and the eventual elimination is a tad more efficient!

Changing the story line here – This past Christmas the Coyote Cam was active, four Coyotes (alright – three full figures and a portion of a fourth) were recorded. The timing is interesting in that the Coyote Cam was a Christmas present some four years ago and the very first time it was put into use it recorded several Coyotes.  The time in between then and now saw only a few Coyotes but the realty was that two cameras had to be replaced.  Down time between camera replacements were lengthy which would account for the lower number of Coyote photographs.  Following this edition readers will note the latest photographs of the local Coyote family, they do seem healthy this year!  Why would the Coyotes hang around when so many of the neighbors take stringent precautions?  Bureau of Land Management is not proactive in critter control until the animals involved become a problem.  As noted above several pets are killed but few are ever officially reported as killed but simply as missing.  The lands adjacent to this neighborhood are managed(?) by BLM and until missing pets are denoted as killed by Coyotes BLM will not take any action to eliminate the Coyotes running through BLM property.

Thank You for allowing this writer time off for Christmas and New Year. I sincerely hope you and your family are healthy and looking forward to the coming year.

Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam!

Has the year gone by already??

It’s Halloween and you are out with the little goblins and witches, what are you thinking? It seems like we were just enjoying summer yet here is the prelude to the holidays – Halloween.  It is still some time to the beginning of Winter which arrives December 21st.  Coyotes will likely be in hiding with all the noise and commotion of the day so why worry. Halloween is the day for candy wrappers to be flying in the wind, happy ghosts will be running ahead and not paying attention to where their feet will land. Kiddos eh?  Mom and Dad Coyote are actually breathing a sigh of relief much as does the human folks when school starts.  Halloween marks that time of the year when the Coyote offspring are preparing to go out on their own.

The cycle of Coyote life generally has the pups hunting with their parents about this time of the year. Nature is encouraging the pups to soon leave their den. Coyotes are seen with regularity at this time of the year because the pups are leaving the den to learn about life.  Maybe that is why the Coyote population always seems to increase at this time of the year.  More and more animal control offices are reporting growing numbers of Coyotes these days.  Winter is coming and the once dependent pups now young adult Coyotes are nature bound to find their own den and food for the cold and scarce months ahead.  No – not just yet, there is much to be learned over the coming fall months as each day grows shorter and the nights long and cold.  The immediate future will reinforce hunting skills although most of them will not survive these times.  Those Coyotes that do survive will be stronger then their parents because each generation will have improved their survival capabilities.

The Coyote Pups watch as their parents hunt and then stalk needed food for the families. The pups watch the parents fade into the background in order to avoid larger predators or to sneak up on their prey. The parents move ever so slowly so as not to draw attention which is the same skill needed to overcome unsuspecting prey and avoid humans.

The stealthy skill needed to avoid humans and predators is the same used to gather food. Halloween lives on for small game but for the human children it is only a single night of fright. This is the day that marks the beginning of the end for many young Coyotes.  The Coyote pups are gathering knowledge for the coming days when they will be out on their own and have to survive or die.

Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam. Thanks for your time.

Fade to invisible?

It is said that when Native Americans first began to hunt they were less then successful. The lowly Coyote took pity upon them and taught them how to blend into the landscape, walk silently, and become successful hunters.  The nick name early Native Americans gave the Coyote was “Shape Shifter.”   While modern day Native Americans are mostly found on reservations, the Shape Shifter can be found almost every where.  Even more astounding is the Coyote’s ability to survive when all of its known predators do not.  How then does the Shape Shifter not only survive but thrive in today’s societies?

Last edition of the Coyote Cam recounted, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the need for Federal Coyote Pooper Scoopers in order to determine the Coyote’s feces content. The fecal analysis to determine what exactly the urban Coyote was consuming.  Several former editions of this Coyote Cam maintain that the urban Shape Shifter consumes berries, seeds, mice, rabbits, squirrels, along with the occasional pet (cat or dog).  If one looks about his or her home there is little else an animal could eat!  Professional animal observers have pointed out on numerous occasions Coyote’s love of trash cans and communal dumpsters.  Multiple media reports of human and Coyote encounters also reflect the Coyote’s diminishing fear of humans!  Folks – this is where it starts to get a little scary.  If they no longer fear humans it wont be long until they are jumping six foot fences into our backyards.  That is exactly what happened in Colorado this summer.  The following link repeats a news cast wherein a dog owner stood helplessly by while her young pup was being snatched.

Woman Watches In Horror As Bold Coyote Snatches Her Puppy

Can we ever get rid of the Coyote problem? Probably not.  What we can do is to make our home and immediate area inhospitable to the Coyote!  If you feed your pet outside once it has finished its meal remove the food bowl and any tidbits left around that area. While cleaning up after a pet feeding take a moment and look around. Do you have a bird feeder in your yard?  Check for seed on the ground.  Mice will come for that ground seed and they in turn, draw Coyotes.  How about those fruit trees?  Any peaches or apples on the ground?  Learn to think ahead of the Coyote – they seek an abundant food source.  While Coyotes will eat fruit and seeds in the absence of meat, squirrels and mice rely on those same fruits and seeds.  Hence, Coyotes being the fast learners they are- hang around fruit and seed piles to harvest a squirrel or luckless mouse.  Eliminate the Coyote’s food sources!

Next, never let your dog outside alone to do its “business.” Yes some pets do not function well on a leash so it may be time to retrain your Spot (hopefully your Tabby is not pooping in your neighbor’s flower bed) to accept this embarrassing encroachment on their privacy.  A trend to use poop bags for dog walks is gaining popularity, Coyotes have the best poop analyzer in the world – their nose.  Start using those poop bags!  Those poop bags keep the walking paths not only sanitary but diminish the Coyote’s ability of finding your home.  Tidy poop removal will cause the remaining stuff to dissipate more rapidly!

Finally – learn to haze! All you college graduates know what hazing is.  Making the underclassmen feel like morons, right? To a certain degree the same thing applies to Coyotes only in their case we want to frighten them.  The biggest problem we have today is that the casual walk with the family dog is not casual anymore.  However, being prepared to scare the Coyote will aid in making them feel unwelcome!  Hazing a Coyote is not hard!  First, make sure Spot is safely attached to you if possible.  Throw up your hands and make yourself bigger – start yelling “Go Away.”  Be Loud!  If you are at home and can get to the water hose spray the Coyote, they do not like being wet.  Most all county extension offices have Coyote specialist – call them and find out what they recommend.  If you don’t have a Coyote problem now it is only a matter of time before you do.  Be prepared for that eventuality because it may already be there, the Shape Shifter is watching you.

Stay tuned – there is more to come on the Coyote Cam. Thanks for reading!

Really? Feds Need Help – Collecting Coyote Poop

There was a movie not too long ago entitled, The Last Emperor.  The story recalls the life of Pu Yi, China’s last Emperor whose capture by the Red Army ended that country’s Sovereign rein.  In one episode Pu Yi recalls memories of growing up in the Forbidden City.  Pu Yi relates to the viewers that his life was predestined and all manners of medical oversight given him to insure a healthy life.  One particular instant involved the Royal Stool Smeller, it was that person’s job to smell the youngster’s excrement to determine if any ills were present.   Wouldn’t you like to have that job?

Well if you hurry you can still get in on the ground floor. OK, it will not be to determine what ails animals but it will entail locating and bagging Coyote poop to analyze what they are eating.  It seems this writer has a desert rabbit that has decided it likes our backyard thyme plant, pictures to follow.  Unfortunately for the rabbit its desire to consume herbs may well make it the local Coyote’s next meal.  Pictures will not follow that event!  Readers will recall Coyotes C144 and C145 from the last posting.  Those two urban Coyotes can be differentiated from suburban Coyotes in that they maintain home territories within parks and undeveloped urban lands.  Urban Coyotes are the ones most scientist are interested in observing.  What do they eat?  Fruit from backyard fruit trees?  Vegetables?  The random kitty / puppy- what exactly do these urban Coyotes exist on?

For an extended insight into the real story of “Searching for Coyote Poop” use this embedded link:

http://www.newser.com/story/224688/feds-need-public-help-collecting-coyote-poop.html

Stay tuned- there is more to come on the Coyote Cam

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!