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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dogs and wildlife

As many of you know, I love being out at sunrise and sunset. One thing I love about it is the "magic light" for photography. I find the light to be almost mystical, with the spotlights of sun surrounded by the darkness of the forest.
So, Shyla and I do our morning outing around sunrise, and the Duo and I are out around sunset. I'm so happy that R can now walk far enough to join the sunset hikes.
One downside to these times for being outdoors is active wildlife. For us, the most common issue is coyotes. Because there are many coyotes and their habitat overlaps with where humans love to be, they worry me more than mountain lions. As soon as we get close to a meadow, I get both dogs on leash, and I scan it for coyotes.

The other day, like many days recently, I spotted a coyote right away. Do you see him lying in the snow in the photo below?

As Shyla and I hiked that morning, the coyote started trotting in parallel to us. Shyla was on leash but expressed absolutely no interest in charging after the coyote, a fact that made me very happy.
As we hiked, the coyote stopped frequently to check us out - while keeping a pretty constant distance from us.
Finally, he went behind a boulder and started barking. At first, it was much like a dog bark and then it became a yip/howl. We stood a distance away, and I recorded his song. However, I discovered that I moved the camera around so much during the video that you'd get sea-sick watching it so I won't share it here.

After his song, the coyote retraced his steps back toward where he'd started. I'm not sure what the display was all about - except perhaps to tell his pack-mates that we were in the meadow.

Neighbors are saying how much more often they see coyotes in the meadows this year than in the past, and I think that the reason might be that there are two new houses on the edges of meadow. It appears that the coyotes' normal secretive routes through the sparse tree groves and boulder-strewn areas in the meadow have been blocked by the houses and outbuildings. For the foreseeable future, I think my dogs will be staying on leash in the meadows. Perhaps the coyotes will figure out new secretive routes as time goes on.

It's okay with me to leash my dogs in the meadows. I believe in figuring out how we and the wildlife can accommodate each other and share the natural world. I can still enjoy sunrise and sunset without my dogs romping in the meadows. Recently, the sunset light has been glorious, and we've been soaking it up.

To close, I want to thank you all for your supportive comments yesterday. I am still in a migraine-induced haze today, and I've decided to try to limit my computer time and rest more for a little while. I need to break this cycle of migraines, and there's a remote chance that will help. I'm going to try to keep my posts shorter, and I may not visit blogs quite as regularly. I apologize in advance but it should be temporary.


  1. I think a coyote's song is one of the most hauntingly beautiful sounds!

  2. I'm just catching up on blog-reading, and am very sorry to hear about your migraines, and especially the frequency. I hope they pass soon, and are not indicative of anything other than your body's current channeling of energy into healing from your surgery.

    Coyotes are quite a concern in my rural area, and are not particularly interested in keeping a low profile, sorry to say. I've often seen them in the middle of the day. I've seen them walk casually along fencelines with people, dogs and horses not far away, on the other side of the fence. I've seen one just standing in the middle of a driveway...I did a doubletake at that one, because I thought it was a dog then looked again. Another goat person had a coyote crawl under a fence right next to his house, take a kid from a flock, drag it under the fence, then come back for another. He saw the coyote when it was inside the pen and shot it. Then he found the dead kid. Heartbreaking. It's always a balancing act with wildlife and livestock, but still, heartbreaking. When you described that coyote going behind a rock and vocalizing, my first thought was "lure"...very glad Shyla was on lead and not interested! I'd be worried about what Piper's reaction might be in a situation like that.

    Take care, KB, and I hope you feel much, much better, very soon!

  3. he was beautiful, but i don't like them approaching my pups, either.

  4. Don't worry about visiting us, just feel all better and always be on coyote high alert for you and your sweeties.

  5. Ottawa has had an increase in coyote sightings in the last few weeks not sure why. I am with you, we need to learn to live together and if the dogs need to be on leash for us all to be happy, so be it! Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  6. No need to apologize. You need to rest and get well. You will be in our thoughts even if you don't post or visit.


  7. He is a very beautigul coyote! And we are like you-- trying to live together- peacefully in the world we all share.
    We hope your migraine gets better soon.

  8. We had a coyote roaming our development last week. A little unnerving to neighbors with small dogs.

    Hoping that rest brings you some relief.

  9. Dark glasses, no typing or computer screen, no need to apologize at all, sharing, caring and understanding is a huge factor in our blog world., and the coyote, it took me a while to spot him, what great camouflage, and he does look stunning, I guess what they do to kill is their instinct to live. Totally superb close-ups. Take care, hugs, Jean.

  10. I don't think anybody petty enough to worry about you visiting is worth fretting over. You have to be kind to yourself and take care of you. I've been rather sick myself lately, and I know I've missed commenting a lot, but such is life.

    I really love the golden hour for photography! You probably got a whole calendar's worth of shots today alone!

  11. Again, good luck with the migraines! I admire you for doing so well with so much to cope with.

  12. We saw a pack of 7-8 coyotes yesterday on our way to Crumpie's and we thought of you and Shyla, KB. Rest up and feel better!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  13. Good luck with your headaches!

    We keep our pups on leash all the time - we just don't trust wildlife.

    Monty and Harlow

  14. What an affirmation of the philosophy that we must learn to share the planet with wildlife. I hope you are well soon! Loved your coyote pics today !

  15. That is really interesting. I always wondered if you ever used leashes. We live across the street from the beach. There are headlands nearby with a small corridor to the Cleveland National Forest. We recently heard coyotes yipping at 5am. One morning at 5 we saw three together while walking on the sidewalk. Mom picked me up and kept walking Benny while stomping her foot. A bit scary since we never saw 3 together and they were not in a hurry to leave
    Lily & Edward

  16. Whenever we are camped near a town, with in 10 miles, we here and see coyotes. I only walk the dog on a leash. They are very bold down here and have learned that dogs are food. I love to hear them, so I just keep these guys safe,

  17. I love coyotes :) It's breeding season, and often coyotes will be show interest in domestic dogs during that time...and call out to them in that awesome yip/bark :) Their love lust is strong enough that I've seen them ignore humans nearby at the same time. I hope you're able to break that migraine a fellow migraine sufferer, I truly feel your pain :(

  18. Reducing computer time will hopefully give a little relief - I can't look at a computer at all when I have a migraine; really impressed that you're still blogging! Be kind to yourself :-)

  19. Beautiful Pictures of the coyote. Great Shyla didn´t care.
    Be well so you can hike and also blog for us.
    Hugs from Sweden!!

  20. Cutting down on computer time sounds like a good idea as far as less stress on the migraine. I sure hope it helps!
    I didn't even see the coyote at first! He is beautiful. I love seeing and hearing them here, but we keep our distance.

  21. When I went out on the skis this morning, I followed the tracks of a coyote (judging from their size, probably a male). I rarely see coyote but often see the tracks. Occasionally, one will trot along my property at the edge of the forest - I'm usually startled because at first I think its a domestic dog. Soon, I'll see their bloody markings from estrus. I've never seen a pack of coyotes - only lone ones. Rest your eyes and hope this migraine hold on you will abate!

  22. Yes, gotta be safe around nature! We hope the headaches stay away!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  23. Rest well so that you can be well, my friend. Know that I am here, keeping you close in thought & in prayer.


  24. We never get to see coyotes in Idaho, though we sure can hear them, especially at night.

    No coyotes here in Switzerland… but wolves have been spotted not too far from us.

    I can't believe it took us so long to find your incredible blog. We'll become regular readers!

    We're sorry to hear about your migraines. We hope you'll feel better soon and we'll be sending healing thoughts your way.

  25. It is possible your meadow coyotes are a separate pack from your woods coyotes. 21 years ago we had two packs about 3 miles apart. Then about 15 years ago a pack was formed about 1/2 way between them (we suspect from the offspring of the two packs meeting up). Then a few years later another pack showed up about 2 miles from pack 3. Then a few years after that another pack was recorded about 2 miles from pack 4. So right now we are up to at least 5 breeding packs within about a 10 square mile area.


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