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Monday, April 11, 2016

Return of the Coyotes?

I've been worried about our coyote population. I've been seeing far fewer in trail camera photos, and my neighbors are all commenting that they rarely hear them sing anymore. Some of you might remember a video that I captured of a small pack of coyotes singing right outside our house. You might want to turn down the volume on the video, especially if you're using earphones.
The most amazing part was that having a pack of coyotes sing outside our windows was an almost nightly occurrence then. Sadly, it hasn't happened in at least 18 months now. Some of us think that the absence of coyotes is related to unprotected compost piles which produce chemicals that are poisonous to mammals during the decomposition process. All of us locals know that coyotes will eat anything remotely edible that's left outside. I even once found a roll of $20 bills in coyote scat!

Regardless of the reason for the crash of our local coyote population, one of my trail cameras started getting photos of a pair of coyotes in mid-March.
They were marking the territory vigorously, which made me think that they were moving into this territory. You can see the one coyote kicking the dirt backwards in a scent marking behavior in the photo above.

The pair has come back to that same spot many times, marking every time. It's a place where all our carnivores scent mark.

My only worry was that one of the pair appeared to have something wrong with his lower lip or jaw. Every photo of him in mid-March showed either a swollen or sagging front lower lip.

Fast forward to today. I was out riding my bike without Shyla, and I saw a pair of coyotes trotting next to each other in front of me. One went up the hill and into the forest. The other stayed and watched me. I wished that I had my good camera with me but my point-and-shoot did okay.

I thought that he was very handsome!

I wonder if he was trying to pick up my scent or some other animal's scent?

He sat and looked off to my left.

What a privilege to get to see him like that!
I love coyotes. In areas where wolves have been exterminated, they live in packs with multiple generations helping to raise the young of the alpha pair of coyotes. There's clear loyalty among the pack as they all work together toward raising the pups.

It's horrendous to see some of the comments that are made on the Youtube video that I showed at the start of this post. People say that they want to shoot and torture coyotes, and I don't understand it. Fortunately, I moderate the comments so none of those really bad comments stays visible for long.

One of the coolest things is how similar coyotes are to our dogs. Back when they used to sing outside our windows, R would regularly join in with his own howl.
I hope that this new pair of coyotes can raise some young in our neck of the woods so we can hear their singing more regularly again!


  1. You live with the coyotes while many of us live in fear of them. I think it iso ur ignorance that makes us fearful

  2. He IS handsome! What a beautiful opportunity to photograph.

  3. Very beautiful photos of the coyotes. We have them too, and sometimes can hear them yapping. Your coyotes are much bigger than ours.
    We learn to live among the wildlife. It is their world too. Of couse we are cautious, and fearful at times. But it is their world as much as it is ours.

  4. We have coyotes here but I have never once heard them howl like that. Eerie and amazing at the same time.

  5. I love the haunting call. Another beautiful post my friend.

  6. OMD, he is sooooo handsome!!! Those are big coyotes, ours are much smaller, butts still beautifuls. I would loves to learn how to howl! BOL
    Beautiful photo of R!!! You go dude!
    Ruby ♥

  7. What a gorgeous animal! Ours are also much smaller, but still a beautiful sight to see. Funny, my pack didn't even look up when they heard the coyotes. Of course, they think they are human :-).

  8. I love coyotes! I think they are so neat! I don't understand why people can be so awful to our wildlife. I've seen some horrendous comments about wolves, too! It's a fact of life that everything has to eat. They have to kill things to survive.. It happens and it's just nature's way. People need to get over it. :(

    I love that picture of R! The sky is so beautiful!

  9. What a handsome guy! We see them on occasion in our yard looking to snag a duck or goose for his breakfast.

  10. Hope they stay in the neighbourhood too! They are beautiful!

  11. Easy is happy now that he met some "pups" with the same falsetto-voice he has :o) He howled along immediately... sadly that was something couldn't fix with tuning the volume down... dogs have no mute button lol

  12. Toby pees and then scratches just like that frequently on our neighborhood walks! We joke that he's letting the other dogs know the whole city belongs to him :) I love your photos and agree that it's a privilege to see such beautiful animals out and about doing their thing. I really am drawn to your first photo of the coyote peering so intently at you. Would you be wiling to let me use it as a reference photo for a painting? (I will give you attribution as the source of the photo of course)

  13. they aare beautiful to me and wow are they loud.. i loved hearing them. we have a lot of them here, so many that the residents are complaining because their small dogs/cats are disappearing. i say we took their habitat and don't leave your small pets outside alone.the eagles and other predator birds grab dogs and cats to. i dont see anyone wanting to kill them... we saw a pair like this twice at 5 am while driving to the YMCA but that was a year ago and none since then. i am sorry to hear that they die off due to what we do.

  14. such beautiful images of them.
    they do make amazing sounds.
    it is hard to understand why anyone would 'hate' a wild animal.

  15. We occasionally see coyotes where we live just outside of town
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  16. Coyotes appeal to my eyes more than wolves actually. They remind me of our dog Blaze. To me she looks like a coyote and is just as mishchevious as one. lol

    Thanks for such beautiful shots of them. I will always be amazed at the cruelty of humans and I will never understand it.

  17. What great video and shots you got of the coyotes! Those trail cameras are worth every penny!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  18. I can't wait to hear your video when I can get to a wifi spot! We get them singing in the big field behind us about three times a week, and it's just about the best music around!

  19. Beautiful pictures! Coyotes are amazing. Have you read Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver? It's a great book about a woman who studies and tries to protect coyotes.


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