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Friday, January 3, 2020

Nature Friday: A Coyote Den in Winter

Last summer, our local coyote pack was spooked away from their usual den by some unprecedented activity near it. In their new spot, I was able to document about a month of the coyote pups' development and play (e.g., see this post). (I have to admit that this scene looks bucolic compared the harshness of winter).
Then, the coyote parents got spooked again by unwitting human activity near their new den. They moved yet again - back to the den that they'd used for years. Now, I am getting ready to capture their activity around when their pups are born in April.

One important aspect of this is to get my cam set very early so that the coyotes get used to having outside their den. It's been in that area since November so I am hopeful that they are acclimating to it. This shows an important aspect of trail cams - you need to plan ahead, set up early, and then try to stay away at the critical times so that you don't scare the wildlife. I still some work to do to be ready for April pups.

Some days, the weather near the den is pretty brutal. On this day in November, clouds were at ground level, and it was cold!

This was a rare warm and still winter day. The coyote rested atop the underground den for about 15 minutes, just soaking up the sun.

This day was super windy. On this meadow, the wind whips in from the west and steals all the body heat of a human very fast. I can attest to that. The coyotes seem better equipped for brutal winter weather than I am.
I wondered if the coyotes might use the underground den in bad winter weather. Although I don't yet have a great view of the den entrance, I haven't seen evidence that they do.

I put together the clips into a short video. I hope that you have time to watch it. It sets us up for the really fun phase after the pups are born.


  1. What a wonderful playground they have. It's so beautiful!

  2. Fantastic images! I especially love that foggy-looking one.
    Isn't it amazing the difference wind makes? Sounds so obvious, but unless you do things outside in all weathers, I don't know if people really have a sense of it. Likewise the difference even a ray of sunlighrr can make on the coldest of days.

  3. I did not realize they have underground dens. I assume they don't hiberntate like bears, but continue to hunt food. the video is amazing. your coyotes are a little larger than ours and look healthier, even in the snow..

  4. They are pretty smart to shelter underground!

  5. What a wonderful wildlife video. That Magpie was brave but then the coyote was some distance.
    I'm glad they have a warm place to hunker down when necessary.
    Hugs Cecilia

  6. You live is a most wonderful place. Wow.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. Scritches to the pups. ♥

  7. I like to see coyotes on my computer but that is all I want to see them.

  8. I love coyotes and wish they weren't so reviled by most people. They look so majestic in your winter wonderland scenery. Good luck on preparations for April.

  9. They don't seem to be very concerned about the camera at the moment. I'm excited (already) to see what happens in April!

  10. Looks like the camera isn't causing any concern. Hope you get great shots in April.

  11. This is a really fascinating post. Thank you for all you efforts, bringing to us such lovely photos and film footage of the wild animals in your beautiful part of the USA. Looking forward to seeing the coyote cubs before too long.
    Cheers, Gail.

  12. They are great animals, but unfortunately, they are also in the suburbs here. They have killed three dogs, and nearly a fourth in the past month. We have seen them early in the morning when we are out walking. They run when they see us, but it still frightens Mom.

  13. I didn't know they had underground dens either. The winter doesn't seem to bother them much! We've had some tracks around our land that my hubby thinks are coyote. As long as they keep their distance from our birds, we'll be happy! (so far, no tracks go near the coop or even our yard)
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  14. We can't wait to see more footage of the coyotes. We have some living near us but have never seen them. We only hear them at night.

  15. We had a coyote trot past our house this week! Ma caught it on one of her security cameras, the cameras are motion activated, so it just caught the last part of him. They are everywhere here, I just worry for the kittehs, they have gotten a few of them. I likes seeing them in their preferred habitat! That is just pawsome!
    Ruby ♥


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