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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Black and White Sunday: A Chorus of Howls

The coyotes continue to frequent our clearing. Most years, they disappear as soon as the wintery weather dissipates. For the winter, they are here most nights.

I like this photo because it shows that we have a new "Nick Ear" in the neighborhood. A coyote who I called "Nick Ear" used to show up on my trail cameras frequently. Then, a couple of years ago, I noticed blood on his fur in a trail camera photo. A few days later, I found his body. He'd been shot by someone who then let him wander around injured and dying for days. This guy looks healthy and strong.
I suspect that the nicks in his ear are either from fighting with other coyotes or from hunting.

When there is lots of snow, the coyotes also occasionally come around during the day. We pack down trails in the snow that lead to and fro our clearing, and I suspect that the coyotes simply take the paths of least resistance - all of which lead to our house. The coyotes look wary in the daylight.
On a recent evening, Shyla and I headed out for a hike. After I checked that our clearing was free of coyotes, I released Shyla from her lead. Then, I noticed coyote tracks walking carefully in my packed snow bike track. In the photo below, the coyote track is on the right and Shyla's slightly larger track in on the left.
After seeing the tracks, I called Shyla and put her on leash. Soon thereafter, howling erupted from a meadow very close to us. Shyla didn't seem particularly interested (thank goodness - perhaps she won't be a coyote-crazy dog like some of our others). We simply continued our hike and never saw the coyotes. My experience is that they usually want to steer clear of us. The one exception is when they try to lure a dog into their midst. Consequently, as long as the dogs are on leash, we feel safe.

Then, later in the same evening, I was setting up my regular camera on the deck for some star photos when a caucophony of howling erupted extremely close to the house. Several coyotes were howling in the vicinity of my trail cameras, and the howling of the pack was captured by the cameras. Unlike my previous coyote howling video, this one is truly a chorus of many. You can watch the short black and white video here or at Youtube.
My dogs responded to the actual howling by making noise of their own. R loves to howl like a wolf so he joined the chorus with melodic and mournful howls. Shyla barked excitedly. Myself, I love hearing the coyotes howling and yipping in the night. It's a hallmark of the west and the wild world we live in.


  1. Wow, those howls were surprising! I guess I've never really heard coyote howls like that before. What a great video. One of my dogs didn't even notice or care, but my other dog perked his head up, haha.

  2. Both my dogs lifted their heads up and then went back to sleep. Apparently videos aren't a threat to them!

  3. We have coyotes around us too and sometimes when sleeping with the windows open we can hear a similar chorus. Of course the dogs go a little crazy with the noise too.


  4. Hi Y'all,

    Most of the farmers around our mountains hate the coyotes because they kill their livestock. Might be what happened to old Nick Ear when he got shot and because he was running away the farmer may not have known he hit him. If he did know, may not have been able to find him.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  5. The only one inside right now is Phantom and he is almost totally deaf so no reaction there. I hadn't expected them to sound like that, a rather harsh tone, but very strong. I know now I will recognize it if I hear it nearby - hopefully NOT.

  6. Their howling is so high pitched, no wonder it can be heard a long way. How many would be in the pack?lovely video, and photos, as always.Footprints, still lots of deep snow at your place. the first fall for our ,nearly winter, was down south yesterday, at a fairly high altitude.Greetings from Jean

  7. That was very cool! I surprised MOM by joining in oh the howl party. She jumped a little not expecting me to do that. hahhahha

  8. Ah, beautiful! Sends a shiver down my spine every time. Great post.

  9. I am a member of the Phantom Club, my deafness prevented me from hearing it too. However, I did enjoy the howler on the video and his "howl posture".

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  10. We always heard coyotes at night on the farm where I grew up, and still can sometimes at night from here at the house. I was surprised by how high-pitched yours sounded!

  11. That was wonderful. I love it. Soemtimes in the early morning here at the kennel, one dog will start out a chorus of sounds and soon, everyone one joins in and it feels like your blood boils inside you. I often find myself doing a human version of the howl along with them. It is so funny how all the dogs have different versions of the same song. Some chirp like they coyotes, some do the long howl that vabrates the windows. Bert does a low, long distant type song that is almost lost among the sounds of the others, but since I know how it sounds, I listen for it and it just brings so much joy. (ok, Vick, long enough)

  12. That video certainly woke up my collies! Lol

    Another great post, thanks!

  13. Bella jumped straight into HER lap so she could watch the video.

    XXXOOO Daisy, bella & Roxy

  14. We hear coyotes around here lots. We are not huge fans of them because we have waterfowl.

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  15. Hilarious! Both my guys went flying to the back door to look and then started full howls themselves with their heads thrown back! Supposedly we have coyotes in my area but I've never heard then or seen a live one...sadly only a dead one hit by a car.....

  16. Awesome video. We have some coyotes who now are not afraid of us... not good. Otherwise, I enjoy hearing them at night.

  17. That's an amazing video!

    We too sometimes see them out in our back yard in NY. We stay far, far away from them. I think to them we'd be lunch!

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  18. We used to have a pack of coyotes run near our house south of Denver and I've seen a few here in Portland. I'd forgotten their yipping howl, though. Quite impressive. Sage was still asleep and didn't come investigate. I'll have to play it again later today!

  19. Beautiful video!! Maybe Itty bitty Izzy B is part coyote and that's why she is so loud :D can't believe you caught that on video-pretty amazing!! Kisses to the Duo :) xoxo

  20. Wow! Usually when they yip like that around here, they've made a kill. That howling echoes in the valleys and bounces back and forth. Always makes my skin crawl!

    mamma heartbeat

  21. That is hilarious that R started howling too. Believe it or not we have coyotes here. ( we live across the street from the beach) they come down the river bed from the headlands. We saw two at 5am when mom was walking us. It was a bit nerve racking since they started to approach. She picked up Lily and stomped her foot. They were like springs jumping over flower beds to leave the area. Whew
    Benny & Lily

  22. That's so cool - we get to hear coyote howls out in the desert at night too! Although B is a little coyote crazy. So, what do the coyotes do if they do to a dog if they happen to lure it into their midst?

    Sorry to hear about that coyote that wandered around slowly dying. How awful. :(

  23. I sure wish I understood the meaning of different coyote vocalizations. I'm glad you captured this particular "vocal style" on video, as I've often wondered what was going on when I've heard this frantic type of bark-howling. "Rally the troops" always comes to mind. It's such a shame about the original Nick Ear. It's a testament to coyotes' resilience that they thrive in spite of relentless persecution by humans.

    Susan and Wrigs

  24. So cool, I've always wondered what they looked like at that time but I've never been able to see them. Thanks

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