So how do we get rid of Coyotes?

Nature pits the Coyote against humans and the Coyote are winning.  However, a story coming out of San Francisco California suggests a different perspective on that relationship.  This is an interesting comment about the Coyote’s ability to thrive in an urban environment based on the local newspaper’s other entertainment value.  Coyotes have learned over the years that survival depends on its ability to blend into its surroundings.  In the above story the newspaper carrier simply wants to end having to re-deliver papers.  His solution only serves to reinforce to a Coyote, humans are not to be feared!  As this blog has pointed out lo these many month, Coyotes do very well in municipal settings Thank You very much!  But why do Coyotes do as well as they do when everyone hates them?  The secret is that not every one hates the Coyote (nuisance animals in general).  The National Park Service reports on a regular basis that even with signs reading, DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE – their Rangers still find piles of pet food left along trails.  People have been cited for illegally feeding wild animals yet the practice continues.  Now, we have a paper carrier encouraging a Coyote to retrieve and play with substitute newspapers.   These misguided but well meaning folks do not understand that feeding / playing with the wildlife diminishes the fear of humans.  Not only will the wildlife lose their fear of humans they will forgo their natural hunting instincts to dine at the local neighborhood garbage can or backyard pet food bowl.

 

There are a lot of stories these days about Coyotes stalking family pets and carrying those pets off while the owner’s watch in horror.

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/06/04/dogs-coyotes-metro-detroit-attacks/655705002/

Yes, some pets do survive the initial attack only to suffer until death takes their pain away.  Pets that do live through their injuries are fortunate though often traumatized to the point of not being able to do their business without looking over their shoulders!  Here is the point that falls through many of the “attack stories,” wild life offers other ways to kill then just aggressive attacks.

K9 Parvo, Distemper and Rabies are all carried by wild life not just Coyotes.

(https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/common-conditions/parvo-in-dogs/),

However, this blog’s focus is on Coyotes living among us so it is important to understand that these days one is just as likely to encounter a Coyote as any other wild life.  Remember it isn’t just the physical presence of a Coyote transferring diseases during an assault it is also shedding and their fecal matter we must be concerned with.  All animals primarily experience their world through sounds, smell and taste.  As we walk through the neighborhood we pick up all sorts of unseen debris on our shoes and clothes.  Just our walk through the neighborhood can infect our pets.  The pets use their sense of smell and taste to see their world during those walks.  Who hasn’t walked into their homes only to have the family pet come wagging their tails and beg for a pet on their head?  We bring all kinds of infectious diseases into our homes without ever realizing it.  Keeping the pet food bowls picked up and the garbage can lids secure are only the first lines of defense against Coyotes.  It is important to know what has passed this way and what we step in!

So what do we do to avoid Coyotes in our neighborhoods?  If you haven’t encountered a Coyote you soon will.  Between now and that first time take the following preparations;

  1. Make sure your pets are on a leash.  Some folks believe their dogs are just too big to be taken by a Coyote.  Maybe – but do you really want to take the chance?
  2. “Carry a big stick” and not just because President Theodore Roosevelt said so.  A walking stick or golf club will work
  3. Carry a sound device such as a gym whistle or even a soda can with rocks.
  4. Clean up around your home – put away empty pet food bowls.  Water bowls catch debris or left over food particles from your pets food bowl!
  5. Use secure lids for garbage cans or trash receptacles.  Eliminate food smells!
  6. Around the house be sure wood piles do not provide dens for Coyotes.  Storing a wheel barrow upside down?  Be sure nothing can get under it.
  7. Watch fall out from bird feeders – seed on the ground will draw mice / rats which in turn will draw cats.
  8. In the neighborhood check out any medians with shrubs or sunken areas – all make great dens for Coyotes.
  9. Make sure you have your local legal authorities on speed dial, see a problem call it in!
  10. Make sure your local municipal / city / county aggressively pursues animal control policies and procedures!  If they don’t get involved!

 

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

 

Advertisements

A picture is worth a trip to the Hospital or worse

It had to happen sooner or later but come on – “Selfies” with wild animals? Cheryl Santa Maria writing for the Digital Recorder reports that residents of Montreal have been posting Instagram selfies with Coyotes.  Essentially, the article reflects an increased  number of Coyote sightings from last June to this April in Montreal.  Now the average person is going to ask, “why would an wild animal that avoids people get close enough for a selfie?”  Even Instagram has admonished their users against attempting selfies with wild animals, it never turns out well!  Habituation is a word that keeps appearing in ongoing instances of human interaction with wildlife.  The action of humans attempting to “help wild life” by feeding them is not a good practice and is discouraged by any and all wildlife scientist!  However, PETA has a different view on the subject – PETA Versus ShootingThis author disagrees with PETA on that stance!  When wild animals start getting comfortable being around humans the relationship will end badly for both the humans and the wildlife!

Do Not Feed_edited-1

Feeding wildlife encourages even closer associations.  Stop for a moment and think back about the times as a child you were offering the family pet a treat.  What happens when you put out a treat to a pet and then quickly pull the treat back?  Instinctively the pet will lunge forward and attempt to snag the treat before it gets away.  Too often the snagged items are the fingers holding the treat, OUCH!  Screaming at the top of their lungs children will run off crying to Mom that the dog/cat just bit them.  The family pet will run away but wild animals often interpret the wailing and fleeing as a sign of distress and intensify their attack.   Change the picture here just a bit, the Coyote is hunting and a human walks by with a small dog/cat on leash.  OK maybe the small dog has just seen a Coyote . . . Canine education

We have one perspective, the Coyote another.  The Coyote sees a small dog/cat trying to get away from the human.  Must be food and the human can’t catch it, why the cord/rope?  The Coyote goes into attack mode chasing after the small animal.  The human yanks the pet up into their arms much like the child pulling the treat back.  The Coyote attack intensifies, the pet begins crying and squirming meanwhile the human attempts to fight back.  Being larger the human may have a slight advantage but depending on their hunger/aggressiveness, the Coyote has more of a reason to continue the attack.  Not a pretty picture for either the Coyote or the human and pet!  Go back a few days in time, this happened because the Coyote found a bit of human-provided food during its evening forage along this trail which was left behind by some well meaning human.

Oh Yeah, and for, those of you who think your dog is too big to be attacked.  A seventy pound Labrador Retriever got off lucky because its owner stood his ground between his dog and a forty pound Coyote.  A seventy pound Labrador versus a forty pound Coyote?  An obvious mismatch but all too often the Coyote comes out a winner in those  confrontations!  This story comes out of Indiana which has seen increased instances of Coyotes or Coydogs Eastern Coyote_edited-1which are typically much heavier then their western kin.  Speaking of Coyotes along the eastern seaboard, more and more Coyote encounters are being recorded.  The common thinking there is that more and more subdivisions are encroaching into the wilds hence more encounters with Coyotes and other wild animals.  Encroachment into wild life may not be avoided as more and more humans decide that the city life is not for them.  Unfortunately, most city dwellers have the wrong perspective of living with or among wild life!  Now about those selfies – cell phone or digital camera?

Next edition find out why trapping, shooting and poisoning are not the only choices.

Stay Tuned – There is more to come on the Coyote Cam

Watching the setting Sun

I am sitting on the back porch enjoying the sitting sun relishing an adult libation and reflecting on life . . . . being retired has a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Family is relatively simple – my daughter and her husband are pursuing successful careers while the grand kids are grown and just starting their careers. On the down side, multiple doctor appointments as we enter our “Golden Years.”  Let me caution you about these “Golden Years,” take really good care of your health and be mindful of your financial situations as you progress through adulthood!  Now all of this has nothing to do with Coyotes – right?

Reflecting on one’s life has as much importance for Coyotes and maybe more so. The animal kingdom has been around a lot longer then humans, its a fact.  Animals are born with out much hope of becoming young adults let alone seniors.  The reason most animals die at an early age is bad health but more often as not is predation from other animals.  Animals survive via a learning process which also includes lower life forms (and I am not talking about human thugs here).  Most animals start life with two strikes against them.  First, young animals have a high mortality rate and the rest of their lives does not get any better from there!  The second strike against all animals is finding food and shelter.  So is it easier to obtain food and shelter in the wilderness or from humans?  Who has the most attractive shelters and the best tasting food ?

Coyote Garbage Can
Scrumptious bites and a beer

Humans!  Does living among humans pose a problem- Yes and No.  It may take a few generations of Coyotes to understand survival needs in the city but they adapt better then other wild life.  Over the past issues of this blog multiple pictures of Coyotes have been published of them doing some amazing things.  How about pictures of Coyotes walking across a frozen river taken by a US Coast Guard Cutter just outside of Boston, Massachusetts.  Ever seen a Coyote walk over the balcony roof of a bar?  You can see it in the archives here.  Really amazing are the photos of Coyotes waiting at a street intersection waiting for the lights to change so they can safely cross!

All of those “learned skills” are necessary to live in the city! Alright, you might say, so they can learn some stunts – how does that help them survive in the city? Those stunts are the tools needed to find food and shelter.  Don’t forget they also have the ability to disappear.  Wait a minute, Coyotes can’t just disappear.  Actually what they have learned to do is to blend in with the background and remain extremely still even when within just inches of a predator / human.  That knack for staying hidden is part of their stealth skills learned from millennia of being hunted by alpha predators.  Stealth is a large part of how Coyotes can survive and do more then just thrive in threatening environments.  Almost daily the media reports instances of owners walking their small dog down a common path bordered by low shrubs and bushes.  All of a sudden a Coyote appears out of nowhere and attacks the small dog.  No! The Coyote did not suddenly appear out of no where.  The Coyote was crouched low in the vegetation bidding its time!  Through its sense of smell and hearing the Coyote had learned that many domesticated, small animals (dogs) walked this path daily.  Too, the Coyote is blazing fast when compared to other animals its size and weight.  Adult Coyotes have been known to hit 35 miles per hour.  Life skills come very quickly to Coyotes  . . that or they do not survive.  Its is good to sit safely on the back porch enjoying the sitting sun reflecting on life.

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

Climate Change or Coyotes?

Yes Martha, there are things far worse then a Coyote attacking our family pet! Readers who follow this blog know that its material comes primarily from major media and internet stories (both authenticated and unauthenticated).  So here we go – Lets all take a deep breath, relax and keep an open mind.  No matter what is causing it . . . .  climate change is a fact!  Example: looking back this week major news media reported the Arctic Ice is at the second lowest level in satellite history.  STOP!  Satellite history is limited when compared to written history let alone the time the earth has revolved around the sun.  All type of facts are available from multiple sources and depending on your personal interpretation can be devastating or uplifting.  So yes, the climate is changing but at what rate?  The speed of climate change appears to be increasing and most would agree the growing human population in all probability – has some impact on the rate of climate change.  There, I said it and you will make of it what you will.  I say climate change is probably worse then a Coyote attacking our family pet!

Well? The point to consider is that as the climate does indeed change what individual impact does it have on us? Begin with food sources . . draught or flooding will destroy your food source.  Shelter . . many homes have been destroyed by both draught (fires) and flooding.  With out food and shelter we humans become scavengers.  Sound familiar?  In addition to being hunters Coyotes are scavengers. As its territory expands and contract a Coyote’s focus turns from hunting to scavenging.  What ever opportunity is presented to the Coyote will be maximized, the Coyote’s life depends on food and shelter.  So you saw a Coyote sneaking around your back fence?  Food and shelter is on the Coyote’s mind as it wonders your neighborhood.  Unlike humans the Coyote can not rebuild and replant so it leaves to find a sustainable environment.  You want the Coyote gone, eliminate its food and shelter.  Hmm . . We humans may want to reconsider our priorities eh?

Between March 15th and March 26th 2018 there have been 14 public reports of Coyote problems, the majority along the east coast with several from New York.  Regardless of where the reader lives if you haven’t had a Coyote problem it is only a matter of time before it happens.  Knowing that Coyote problems are occurring residents would be well advised to prepare for the eventuality of meeting up with the four legged varmint.  Knowing that climate change is happening now is the time to take precautions, throw an extra blanket and couple of bottles of water in the car before you take a trip.  Keep that cell phone charged and consider keeping an emergency battery pack charged up as well.  This year it seems the weather has been relentless on the East Coast and the number of citizens without power has to be at an all time high.  Amazingly, no reported Coyote sightings have been made since the winter storms  . . or have they?  As for Coyotes your choice of defensive tools could be a hand held air-horn or the old reliable 12 gauge.  The latter is my anti-Coyote choice though my neighbors take a dim view on loud sounds in the middle of the night.  NOTE: Rabid Coyotes don’t respond to air horns but the 12 gauge will stop them dead in their tracks – so to speak.

OK so far we have climate change and Coyotes – how are they related you ask? Coyotes are in our neighborhoods and no one can explain why.  The Coyote population is growing in our neighborhoods but no one seems to know how fast the Coyote population is growing. Yes, different localities seem to have varying speeds of Coyote population growth. Open the local newspaper or tune into the evening news show and various pundits will state that this or that is the way to alter climate change.  Some local animal experts report that Coyote control is best achieved through trapping and is more humane while others advocate termination which is more expedient and definitive.  No one has figured a solution to climate change and Coyotes peering out from under the brush near the driveway have no fear of us.

It is said that all politics are local. How about varmint control?  The Federal Wildlife authorities have taken action with a degree of success in the western states. Some other areas over seen by those authorities have suffered collateral damage in the form of live stock and or family pets.  The local communities have a better perspective on their need for varmint control and with the help of local citizens, can limit Coyote run-ins.  Notice I said “limit,” too many well intentioned folks just have to feed the wild life!  Once we get around those supporting wild life in the neighborhoods Coyotes will be motivated to look for other friendly environments.  Recapping here – Climate change is still going on and I just got another trail camera photo of a local Coyote.  On a positive note, the local drought seems to have diminished the number of Coyote tracks behind the back fence.  On the other hand, it looks like my summer water bill is going to be quite a bit higher!

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

Do you hunt?

The Coyote hunting season never ends in New Mexico, hunting these predators here doesn’t require a license either.  As a matter of fact a number of western states maintain open season on Coyotes and for good reason, these predators cause livestock losses.  Lose your livestock and you will not be in business as a farmer or rancher for very long.  A banker’s cold heart makes anti hunting protesters seem quite tame when those land payments come due. Meanwhile in town – these days it is interesting that just about every call a municipal animal control agency receives is in relation to a pet attacked by a Coyote.  The loss of a pet (family member-right?) is devastating enough but to see that pet lying in the back lawn torn apart . . .well it doesn’t get any worse then that!  The common problem here is the Coyote!  What to do?

The agricultural folks will protect their industry at gun point while the folks in town are restricted in their control processes. However, both are hounded by animal rights activists.  Generally speaking – folks on one side want the predator gone while the folks on the other side want the predator left alone.  So which side is right?  Both actually! Coyote diets rely on available food sources but as has been proven they can survive on any combination of food sources.  Outside of the city limits gophers and rabbits are reliable food sources meanwhile, the city offers up rats and mice.  Unfortunately, live stock augments the Coyote’s food sources while dogs and cats often end up as a city delicacy.  The Coyote always prefers the food source which is the easiest to gather, they are not hard workers.

Coyotes have always been here but in the past they were the hunted. Wolves were the alpha canines and along with the other top predators such as the cougar and bear, Coyote populations were under constant pressure.  Wolves hunt in packs where as the Coyote hunted alone unless raising their pups.  Cougars are a lot faster in short runs then is the Coyote and the big cats far more agile hence the Coyote was badly out classed physically.  What can you say about bears, their size is formidable! How can a 35 to 45 pound Coyote contend with a 200 pound plus black bear?  There were no advocates for the Coyote back in those days.  Times have changed for the good as far as the Coyote is concerned.  At least in town there are no guns and not many traps.  Plus, food and shelter are easy to find for the Coyote.  Let us see – if you were a Coyote were would you want to live?

The Coyote has been evolving – on this every one can agree! Coyote populations are being shot on ranches and farms while the only problem a Coyote runs into in town might be a trap.  Which population is going to continue to increase?  That is right – the city bred Coyote!  Those Coyotes living outside the city limits learn that their city cousins have a better life and soon decide that city life is a vast improvement over living on a farm or ranch.  More so, when some one decides it is time for a “Coyote Hunting Contest.” The contest does not segregate males or females, they are both fair game!  On the positive side a well run hunting contest depletes a specific population and provides revenue not commonly in place.  There are a number of positive things that happen during these events, more on that in another posting.  Perhaps the one big negative is the disposal of the carcasses.  Coyote meat is not a well accepted form of protein!  In a lot of cases and is done with other harvested waste and miscellaneous parts – scavengers are relied on to clean up.  Other instances of unwanted hunting by-products are put into biologically safe trenches / holes.  At least the latter does remove all indications of a hunting contest.

A stated in previous postings this author is a hunter and I see no problem with hunting contests. Varmints make for good target practice but burying materials not taken for consumption is a good practice.  Where do you stand?

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

There is a season –

Hi - Im just passing throughFirst, a disclaimer is required here. This writer has always been an outdoor sportsman which includes hunting and fishing.  In conjunction with being an outdoor sportsman we all need to recognize that predators come in all sorts of packages; fin, fowl and animal (both the two legged and four legged varieties).  It is my belief that good stewardship includes land as well as wildlife!  A well maintained wildlife environment provides a shelter against encroaching humans and conversely, predators from wondering neighborhoods.

The end of 2017 saw an uptick in the number of Coyote attacks, a lot of those attacks were fatal to family pets. This blog has long talked about the number of Coyotes being encountered in usually non-wildlife areas (think neighborhoods here).  This blog has recounted the number of state, county and city agencies discouraging folks from feeding wild life yet a few people still see mangy Coyotes as hungry and in need of feeding.  Television and newspapers note with regularity the number of Coyote and human pet interactions in gruesome details.  One would think the Coyote is right up there with national enemy number 1.

Conversely, there are a number of groups through out the United States that advocate saving the Coyote.  Just this past Sunday in the Albuquerque Journal a column entitled Coyote-killing contest riles some might suggest that stopping cruel and insensitive Coyote killing contests ought to be the law as it is in some other states.  OK, lets not paint all citizens with one brush.  We are not all trying to save the Coyote – ask any pet owner who has witnessed their family (member) pet being killed by a Coyote.  The majority of those folks see a need to eradicate the neighborhood Coyotes.  Leave the city limits and there will be another person that has no need of the Coyote, those in the agricultural industry.  Farmers and ranchers not only loose family pets to Coyotes but they loose a part of their income to Coyote predation.  Cattle and sheep fare the worse loses due to Coyote attacks because currently, there are few other predators other wise – losses would be far greater! As any veterinarian can attest, Coyote attacks are often expensive to treat.  A sheep or cow being much larger becomes even more expensive to treat.

Why has the Coyote become so infamous – in one word, humans. An ever growing population of humans is forcing wildlife into smaller and smaller parcels of land.  Humans have paved roads into the lands once dominated only by wildlife.  These roads create a quasi type of wildlife fence, cross it at the wrong moment and death is instantaneous.  Those lands parceled by roads are also drained thereby eliminating sources of drinking water for wildlife as well the environment of water fowl.  Wetlands, once home to water fowl are fast becoming construction sites.  Say what you will, we humans are the ones encroaching on wildlife!  OK, the point of no return has not been reached . . . yet!  There are still areas where wild life abounds but that area is diminishing in size every day.  The last place a Coyote wants to be is out on a ranch or farm, their life spans are limited out there!  Much safer are the city neighborhoods where humans provide food that doesn’t have to be hunted and shelter that doesn’t require preparation or maintenance.  Go ahead and leave those pet food bowls outside, be sure the backyard fountains are running and by all means don’t bother covering those garbage cans.  Birdfeeders should be filled to over flowing so not only birds but squirrels come to visit.

M2E1L0-0R350B320
Your bird feeder is empty but you want have to worry about the cat

Thanks for your readership!

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!

Natural Selection

The May 14th, 2016 edition of the Coyote Cam focus was directed at a blind, pregnant female Coyote struggling to survive. Only the intervention of a human saved the dying pregnant Coyote.  The blind female Coyote gave birth to five puppies which are to be released back into the wild.  Saving dying Coyotes and releasing young Coyotes into the wilderness is contradictory to every Coyote Cam story to date.  Without fail, most if not all humans see the Coyote as a threat to their livestock, family pets, and oh yeah – children.  Why then does someone need to intervene and prevent the death of a blind and pregnant Coyote?

Most readers will note that the Coyote Cam centers on the history and survival skills of the Coyote in rural wilderness, suburban and urban settings. In the wilderness nature’s law prevails whereas in suburban and urban localities nature’s law gives way to what we humans decide is best.  Most human dwellings require green grass and flowers around homes and yards.  Flowers are a thing of beauty but secondary to that, they also draw butterflies and hummingbirds.  To further enhance our outdoor enjoyment we hang bird feeders around the yard hoping to attract song birds and in a few cases we even put out bird baths.  There is no argument that these feeders do attract birds and sometimes, squirrels.  Unfortunately, squirrels, mice and rabbits are attracted to the seeds dropped to the ground by these backyard feeders.  Squirrels, rabbits and mice are a buffet to a hungry Coyote!  All too often these same feeders are inside the fence where the family pets eat and play.  It just doesn’t get any better for a Coyote, food and (remember the bird bath) water all in the same location!  Lets not forget that most humans are complacent in the fact the backyard is a safe place allowing children to play unattended.

Conversely, Nature has a rule that perpetuates and improves life in the wilderness and that is that sick, young, old or injured animals provide sustenance for other wild life. An animal carcass provides meals to all species of wild life, scavengers even include other Coyotes!  Conversely, the suburban / urban Coyote has developed survival skills based in part on the inattention of humans.  Humans, intentionally or unintentionally, do little to protect their home environment against animal intrusions hence Coyotes find easy access to food and shelter.  Every one complains when neighborhood dogs tip over garbage cans but was it really a family pet that did the deed?  Coyotes can push over garbage cans as easily as the family pet!

Newport Beach California

Sterling Heights Michigan

Reviewing the week’s national media Coyote postings, two interesting articles appear. The first is from Newport Beach California which reveals its Coyote problem was bad enough in August 2015 that citizens threatened to take matters into their own hands.  The authorities stepped in and currently are attempting to establish a prioritization monitoring system whereby Coyotes posing a sever threat are terminated.  Meanwhile, on the eastern side of the country, Sterling Heights Michigan residents are seeing Coyotes in residential areas.  Alarmed citizens are being told by the Police Department there to use all possible precautions to avoid a direct encounter with the varmints.

In the last Coyote Cam posting we find a human seeking ways to save a blind and wounded rural Coyote. Did the well intentioned person of the previous posting intercede in “Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection?”  Let the rest of us know how you feel, leave a comment.   Stay tuned- there is more to come on the Coyote Cam

Eastern Coyote is Bigger!

The Eastern Coyote is bigger then the Western Coyote, not by much though. The distinction between the Eastern and Western Coyote species is in weight and DNA samples, not much else separates them.  Speaking about DNA, biologist note the relationship between the Grey Wolf and the Western Coyote found specifically in Southeastern Canada to be a very good match.  Existing records suggest the hybridization occurred some time around the mid 1800s at about the same time they began moving eastward.  While the Eastern Coyote is not as big as the Grey Wolf their family units occupy a greater territory then do their relatives, the Western Coyote.  Much has been written about “packs” but the Coyotes are comprised of “family units” which is another separation factor between it and the Wolves.  Readers will want to keep the concept of “family units” in mind as this blog contributes future postings.

 Eastern Coyote_edited-1

The Hybrid Wolf/Coyote did not exist before Europeans migrated to the New World.  The Eastern Coyote was noticed in the North Eastern areas of the United States about 1930 and has expanded its territory through out the eastern states all the way South to Virginia.  Interestingly, the Eastern Coyote was not known to be a problem until the 1980s and 90s.  It was about that time urban developments expanded making urbanites and coyotes unlikely neighbors.

As has been written in previous issues of the Coyote Cam, Coyotes easily adapt. Home owners bring a lot to the Coyote in terms of easy food and shelter.  Look around you.  How many bird feeders do you see?  How many pet food bowls do you know are left out on the porch?  See any garbage cans with debris stacked along side them?  Do you see cats or dogs running about the neighborhood?  Anyone have firewood stacked close by?  What about that park not far from where you live?  Coyotes have been known to paw the area below birdfeeders to eat the dropped birdfeed.  Oh yeah, that dropped birdfeed also draws mice and other varmints which the coyote will devour without a second thought.  Records and neck tags trace Coyotes daily lives which reveal they wait to cross streets until the vehicle traffic is in their favor.  The Coyotes will travel to an area with high grass and make a den for its family.  It doesn’t have to be high grass either, a wood pile or w washed out paved parking lot will do too.  Coyotes adapt and survive!

Thanks for your time – Stay Tuned, their is more to come on the Coyote Cam!

Domestic Predator, The Housecat?

Any reader of this blog knows that Coyotes are predators but did you know that the family cat can be more of a cold blooded killer then the Coyote?  Recent reports from biologists suggest that the common household cat is directly responsible for killing more then 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds each year and perhaps an equal number of small mammals.  Granted, Tabby’s eat only some thirty percent of their assaults. More likely as not, they play with their victims first then offer the sometimes still moving target to the family household as a trophy.  Nonetheless, the family cat is hazardous to all avian life!

CBS News ran an article comprised of studies done by the University of Georgia and National Geographic.  A kitty cam (miniaturized video recorder) was used during these studies and recorded things never before seen in the life of the average household cat.  Several important facts came to light that support the powers of the household cat’s predator abilities which, is seen more graphically in its larger cousins.  First, the article determined that there are some 60 million domestic cats alive in the United States. Second, a study of the cat’s physical anatomy determined that felines are well suited for the life of a predator.  The cat’s body from tail to nose has the widest flexibility of all animals.  A cat’s paw can articulate much like that of the human wrist and hand, dogs can not perform this act.  The retractable claws and padded paws allows the cat to silently stalk its prey.  The cat’s spine can be 180 degrees out of alignment with no lingering effects.  In addition to its flexible back, the front half of a cat’s body operates independently permitting faster sprints and turns then dogs.  So why do I bring up the seemingly superior family cat in a blog about Coyotes?

A family at work
A family at work

Reports of Coyote habitation compared to the number of cats present in the same locations suggest that for what ever reason, cats do not thrive. Said another way, if Coyotes are present cats tend not to be present.  Field studies reflect that cats stop hunting when Coyotes are around though not in every case.  Cats that do manage to co-exist do so in the immediate vicinity of their homes.  Apparently, cats understand their home turf provides some degree of security.  While, in outlying areas and away from their home turf the cat’s security is less certain.  One theory has it that while it is fine to be faster in short bursts when there is more then one hunter it may not be a great enough advantage for the cat.  Coyotes are often seen as loners but during and for some time after pups are born Mom and Dad are teaching the pups how to hunt.  The family forms a pack and hunts together until the pups are about eight to ten months old.  Though there are no formal studies on the subject this author believes it is during this cycle that family cats begin to disappear.  During daily walks of late Spring and into mid-summer it seems that pictures of missing cats become more numerous.  The Coyote pups begin to range farther and farther from their family den eventually establishing their own dens and hunting areas.  The original Coyote pair start their mating cycle anew ending their attachment to the former pups / now mature adult Coyotes.  Could it be that we have the Coyote to thank for protecting migrating birds and other wildlife?  More studies into this area of Coyote predation are needed!

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