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Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Wintery Outing, with thoughts about our Coyotes

We woke up to the sound of the wind whipping through the pine forest near our house. High winds are the norm here in the winter. I don't mind them when there's not a lot of fresh snow to be blown horizontally. We headed out before the sun rose, arriving on a plateau just in time to capture the warm hues of the sunrise light.
The position of the sunrise has already shifted noticeably since the solstice. Shyla and I have to search for good rays of sunlight just after sunrise, and the good spots shift by the day. One wonderful spot this morning was in front of a big granite wall.
It felt really cold, with a temperature around 25°F and wind gusts up to some insane level like 60 mph. So, we got moving pretty fast. Shyla wanted to fetch her Wubba.
She was so happy to get moving because her paws were getting cold sitting still.
We played and played in the forest as it gradually become lighter.
At age three, Shyla still has the energy of a puppy. And, it makes me smile!
I used to worry more about starting our fat bike ride before sunrise because we used to have coyotes frequently pass close to our house. Interestingly, since a new house was built that cuts off a formerly heavily used wildlife route, the trail cameras near our house are not getting many coyote photos. In past years, they'd capture at least one coyote photo per night and now it's possibly one per three weeks. It's sad to me - I predicted that the new house would have this effect based on its position smack in the middle of a former wildlife corridor but I hoped that I was wrong.

The upside is that I don't worry as much as we ride out of our clearing, with Shyla in an off-leash heel next to my bike, early in the morning. Of all the animals in our forest, the coyotes worry me the most in terms of their potential to hurt our dogs.
Life is full of trade-offs. But sometimes it feels as if the needs of the wildlife suffer in almost every case. Connectivity between tracts of open land is what is most important but it seems difficult for building planners who live far from a site to know the movement patterns of the local wildlife.

But, from their howling and from a few photos at sites well away from our house, I do know that we still have coyotes in our neck of the woods.
And here's a more recent one. In fact, I suspect this guy was watching Shyla and me as we moved along a trail below where he was sitting.
I'm glad to see the coyotes looking good. I think they are so handsome, particularly in their thick winter coats!


  1. love little shadow girl. and those coyotes are healthy looking!

  2. Yes, they are looking well fed and healthy!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  3. The coyotes are pretty even though they have ate several of our friends.

  4. Shyla and that wubba totally crack me up!! We have one of those, too!! I agree with you about the wildlife! It's a shame. Those coyotes do look really healthy, though!

  5. Great photos, and Shyla's energy comes through so beautifully in your photos!

    The coyotes do look healthy! I also think about how the wildlife has to 'change' because of development--Especially when I see migrating birds.

  6. Lovely to see Shyla in the sunshine. I must admit I do not like the winds even when there is no snow. Makes my eyes water. We have an increasing number of coyotes in our area. Thus we have fewer and fewer rabbits.

  7. Those r beautiful pictures.
    Stella rose

  8. Glad that you enjoy Mother Natures' beauty as well as the wild animals. Unless a coyote is habituated to human food, has rabies, or is injured, I see no harm coming to you or your dogs. Coyotes crave small dogs, cats, bunnies, etc. Living in AZ, I've grown to respect their ability to survive despite what humans do to their habitat. They are extremely flexible and unlike humans, they adapt to change easily. Kudos for the enjoyment you bring to someone who used to live in the foothills of CO. Your photos and storytelling make me sigh and smile.

  9. So grateful for the longer days and the changing position of the sun! Shyla is just stunning

  10. Coyotes are smart animals. Apparently they're thriving in Chicago, and around here I've seen them watch cars until it's safe for them to cross the street. One does have to worry about letting cats and small dogs out.

  11. I've always loved the coyotes out by us. In the past couple of years I've seen less of them too.

    Monty and Harlow

  12. You sure are one happy girl, Shyla! What a handsome coyote!

  13. They are pretty. We hear them most every night in the desert, and pretty close to us too. We keep close tabs on the dogs, that's for sure.

  14. The wind chill factor must be nutty
    Lily & Edward

  15. Those coyotes are beautiful. But Shyla is more so.

  16. those are gorgeous coyote photos
    so healthy looking
    nice that you do not have to worry as much
    but i also don't like it when we change wildlife's course

  17. Wow those coyotes are very beautiful!!!!!
    And of course the gorgeous Shyla!
    60 MPH winds,, oh gosh!

  18. Wow. What a beautiful animal. Interesting musings; thanks for sharing.

  19. Wow-those are amazing coyote pictures. He/She is stunning! Sad to hear that you've seen less of them-hopefully they'll find a new route that works well for them. Habitat fragmentation is so sad :( I hope it's not due the dogs that live there!

  20. The coyotes are beautiful but Id definitely worry about them too. They are particularly dangerous for small dogs, I always worried when I visited my father who lived in an area where there were coyotes

    retro rover

  21. Hi KB, I love the way you capture the sunlight on Shyla in the early mornings. I love the photos of coyotes; I too would worry about them if I was out in the forest like you and the pups are. We get them around here sometimes, but I haven't seen any close to our home. I've gotten where I can recognize whether they are feeding or if they are just talking. I saw one that had been hit on the road last week-oh it was a beauty and its fur was gorgeous. I don't like how sneaky they can be in luring dogs out away from their homes and then surrounding them. The wind has picked up this afternoon; I'm loving the warm days but the mountains look cold today. Stay warm!
    Hugs, Noreen

  22. We have coyotes near our house too. One of my neighbors saw one early one morning, but so far we haven't seen them, although I suspect they keep tabs on us.

    I'm with you, I find them incredibly beautiful.


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