Showing posts with label coyotes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coyotes. Show all posts

April 19, 2018

Fighting Off a Coyote with Wrestling Moves

This is outside the Southern Rockies, but M. and I are in Salem, Massachusetts right now, where a Boston television station carried this report of a man fighting off a coyote.

Maybe those Eastern coyotes really are more wolfish than ours!

Fortunately, brave doggies showed up in North America at least 10,000 years ago, according to some new research from Illinois. Were they pulling sleds? No one is sure.

July 28, 2017

Links Taller than Your Head

It's a good year for wild sunflowers.
Links. Do I have links. They sprout like sunflowers on the prairie.

How to improve your outdoor photography. 10-2-4 is not about Dr. Pepper — 2 p.m. is when you are traveling to the place that you wish to photograph after 4 p.m. And "Zoom with your feet" does not apply to buffalo.

Predatory ducks. It's Romania, so maybe they suck blood as well.

• How older elk survive to a ripe old age (for elk).  They learn the difference between bowhunters and rifle hunters.

A poacher goes down hard. If only this happened more often.

• From Colorado Outdoors: "Five Tips to Catch More Fish This Summer."

Another article on bold, aggressive urban coyotes. Denver, this time.

• High country trails don't just happen. It takes people like this.

November 12, 2016

A Lethal Combination

Coyote and badger at Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center
in northern Colorado. Kimberly Fraser, USFWS
A US Fish and Wildlife Service staffer got a series of pictures of a coyote and a badger hunting together, which are published on the USFWS Open Spaces blog.
Each partner in this unlikely duo brings a skill the other one lacks. Together they are both faster and better diggers than the burrowing rodents they hunt.

These partnerships tend to emerge during the warmer months. In the winter, the badger can dig up hibernating prey as it sleeps in its burrow. It has no need for the fleet-footed coyote.
Meanwhile, here in southern Colorado, I was talking this afternoon with a Colorado Parks and Wildlife employee who lives on the prairie west of Pueblo.

She said that she had seen from her house a coyote, a badger, and a harrier (hawk) apparently working together.

Domestic falconers team hawks with dogs, so why not in the wild? Probably that is where the idea came from. 

July 03, 2016

I Miss Goth Coyote, But Her Urban Cousins Are Fine

Coyote in Douglas fir and oak brush.
This coyote turned up on a scout camera last week, which vindicated what I was thinking — that although I had not heard one for a couple years, I thought that I had seem some scat along the Forest Service road.

Their howls used to provide the soundtrack of pre-bedtime dog walk. At one time, a few years ago, there was an individual whom I named Goth Coyote, because his/her howls had extra wavers and quavers that spoke of torn lace, high-heeled boots, and heavy eye makeup.

Then it all stopped. Did someone trap them? Someone was doing some trapping, because there was the time I found four skinned carcassses in the gully on the national forest that functions as "Boneyard Gulch."

I wondered if the resent absence of coyote howling connected, alternatively, to the arrival of a couple of families in the neighborhood who embraced the whole neo-chicken-raising lifestyle, which includes the precept that Predators Must Die — also, neighbor dogs who encroach upon the Precious Fowl, even when said precious fowl are walking around on the margins of the county road.

But that is just my little area. Across North America, coyotes are expanding their territory. As Dan Flores writes in his new book Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History,
they have successfully urbanized: "In the Chicago metropolitan area, a whopping 61 percent of coyote pups survive to adulthood." But contrary to popular perception, they don't survive by eating Fluffy and Fido. (Of course, if opportunity presents itself, they will.) Golf course and city park geese and eggs are a favorite choice, along with urban deer and human trash.

His chapter "Bright Lights, Big City" collects a lot of research on urban populations, and some parts will surprise you. The best course, he suggests, is "to learn everything possible about living with the animals, then kick back, be cool, and enjoy them."

Meanwhile, some friends a couple of miles away have joined the chicken cult. M. and I stopped by a couple of days ago, and the husband was pouring concrete around the shed that he has converted to a chicken coop. He has built a stout wire enclosure with a concrete footing, and the top will be covered for both shade and protection from hawks. And I don't think that he is particular trigger-happy.

Our friends the wildlife rehabilitators, whose fawn enclosure would be a snack bar for coyotes and other predators, surround it with an eight-foot chain-link fence. But mountain lions and some coyotes and climb (bears prefer to smash their way in), so on top of that are three strands of barbed wire and one of electric wire. So far, so good over there.

That's what you have to do before you can "kick back, be cool, and enjoy them."

February 08, 2015

How Not To Become Prey

Bears biting backpackers. Mountain lions munching mountain bikers.

Every time that some carnivorous critter bites or kills a human, there will be voices proclaiming, "They were here first. We live on their territory."

That is true in a long historical view —  and it is also true that human populations have lived alongside big carnivores throughout history — but Wyoming writer Cat Urbigkit's new book, When Man Becomes Prey: Fatal Encounters with America's Most Feared Predators, adds some nuance and some new information.

Her book is divided into species-specific chapters
  • Black bears
  • Coyotes
  • Gray wolves
  • Mountain lions
  • Grizzly nightmares
  • Greater Yellowstone grizzlies
plus two more, "Habituation and Alaska Attacks" and "Learning to Coexist with Predators."

Each chapter begins with some narratives, the kind that you want to read in the daytime with a clear view of your surroundings. They then cover relevant scientific research and practical ways to avoid conflict with bears, mountain lions, or whatever. "For some hikers [in coyote habitat] rocks-in-pockets becomes a routine at the start of every hike."

For instance, I was raised to believe that while they were a threat to dogs and cats, coyotes left adult-size humans alone. Urbigkit leads with the 2009 killing of Taylor Mitchell in Cape Breton Highlands National Park by a small pack of three coyotes — all healthy. "Wildlife officials suspected that these coyotes had become habituated to humans during the tourist season, and this may have involved the animals receiving food rewards from humans." (There have been other attacks on children and adults , but she was the only recorded adult human fatality.)

Attacks on pets, even leashed dogs with people, are also increasing. Geographically, coyote attacks seem most common in parks, where no hunting is allowed, and into urban areas, again without hunting and with a variety of food resources.

A certain degree of hunting, she suggests, does encourage predators to stay away from people. Yet with mountain lions, for instance, "wildlife managers believe that when heavy localized hunting results in the harvest of older mature males, more young mountain lions are likely to disperse into those areas, creating an increase in [lion-human] conflicts."

Some other take-aways:

• While people think that black bear sows with cubs are the most dangerous, "the majority of the fatal attacks on humans involved male bears, and most attacks took place during the daylight hours." While most black bears are shy, some do prey on humans deliberately. Also, "no one killed in a black bear attack carried bear spray."

• Urbigkit, who lives on a sheep ranch south of Grand Teton National Park, believes in bear spray: "You don't have to be an excellent shot to be effective with a can of bear spray — a cloud of spray between you and a charging bear should be enough for your immediate retreat from the area."

She also offers a case where bear spray stopped an attacking mountain lion. I myself have used it only on aggressive dogs, where it worked well, so I suspect that it would work just as well on a wolf or coyote.

• There are no documented cases of black bears attacking humans in defense of a carcass, but as Northern Rockies hunters are learning, grizzlies, where present have done that a number of times.

• The old idea, from books like Jim Corbett's Man-Eaters of Kumaon (1944), is that the predators who attack humans are usually elderly, crippled, or wounded. With grizzly bears, that is sometimes true, Urbigkit writes. But there also more North American predators than there used to be, thanks to recovery programs and more-regulated hunting. In addition, we have created such predator-friendly places as parks and food-rich subdivisions.

Consequently, they become habituated to us — and we become habituated to them, sometimes forgetting that they "are not loveable toys to be enjoyed when convenient [Yellowstone wolf tours?] and then discarded or destroyed when they reveal their true natures.

"Predators should be treated with a realistic acknowledgment that they are animals that kill prey to survive, and should be respected for the wild creatures that they are."

Any backcountry hiker or hunter, anyone who visits parks like Yellowstone or Great Smokies, and anyone who sees bears, coyotes, or deer in their neighborhoods — where there are deer, there are lions — ought to read When Man Becomes Prey.

It is available from the publisher, Lyons Press, or from the usual online source.

January 05, 2014

Blog Stew Chopped with Cheap Knives

¶ Peter Grant at Bayou Renaissance Man comes down firmly in the price-versus-quality debate in regard to knives, axes, and machetes. He and I agree on Mora knives— mine are so old they have wooden handles.

¶ In all the news-media fuss over legalized recreational marijuana use in Colorado, not much is being said about the new rules on farming for hemp for industrial uses. I wonder which will be a bigger story in the long run.

¶ "Man Mistaken for Coyote Killed in Southwest Colo. Hunting Accident," said the headline. How, you wonder? Apparently a case of technology being "smarter" than people. Oh brave new world

October 22, 2013

Necropsy on Coyotes that Attacked Boulder County Man

An update on the attack by three coyotes on a northern Colorado man earlier this month.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife news release:

DENVER – Three coyotes were killed last week in response to an unprovoked attack on a 22-year old man last Monday morning in Niwot.

The man was walking to work around 5 a.m. on North 73 St. when he heard a sound in the grass close to him.  When he turned with his flashlight, three coyotes ran at the man and proceeded to attack him, jumping, scratching and biting at him for about 70 yards as fought back.  He was brought to Longmont United Hospital for treatment and released later that day.

Two coyotes were removed at the immediate location of the attack on Monday (10/14) and Tuesday (10/15).  The third was taken within the vicinity on Wednesday (10/16).  Officials observed and tracked two distinct groups of coyotes in the area, this group of three and a group of four around ¼ mile west of the first group.

All three animals tested negative for rabies. Other details on the necropsied animals are as follows:

--#1 coyote was an adult female, no placental scars (had not dropped pups), good body condition, large rodent (possibly prairie dog) in stomach.

--#2 coyote was an adult female, placental scars for 3 pups, good body condition, large bird in stomach.

--#3 coyote was an adult male, good body condition, feathers, 2 mice and thick skin probably from domestic dog or cat in stomach.

Coyote attacks on humans are rare; however, coyotes in the metro area become habituated to human presence.   Habituation can cause coyotes to lose their healthy and natural fear of people, become territorial and sometimes aggressive.   Coloradoans can share the landscape with these wild neighbors by following three important tips:

-- Don't feed wildlife!

-- Protect your pets!

-- Haze coyote when you see them!

Finally, in the event of an attack on a person, fight back!  Report any attack on a human to Colorado Parks and Wildlife or by calling 911 as soon as possible.

For more information on coyotes.


July 06, 2013

Mange, Distemper Hit Yellowstone Wolves

An online Scientific American article says that both canine distemper and sarcoptic mange are affecting wolf populations in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas.

I could not help but think of the unlucky coyote pup we transported last Wednesday. It seems likely that the distemper caused him to fall behind, be abandoned, and be discovered by a person who wanted to help him.

July 03, 2013

Coyote in Transit

More lethargic than he had been last night.
This coyote pup, found weak and dehydrated by a road somewhere in the area yesterday, came into the local rehabilitation center last evening.

M. and I paid him a brief visit after dropping off yet another fawn, this one supposedly found in the East Peak FIre zone near Walsenburg.

He had been pumped up with Ringer's solution and had taken some food and water orally, but he was still quite wobbly.

Our local rehabbers do ungulates, bears, and cats, but not coyotes. They made arrangements this morning to transfer up him to someone else up north who does have coyotes. Since we were coming to Colorado Springs anyway, we agreed to drive him up and hand him off.

The second rehabilitator was not too optimistic when she saw him. He was lethargic and dehydrated again. The possibility of distemper had already been discussed. The vet will see him soon, and if it's distemper, that means the needle. Not every animal survives.

EVENING UPDATE: It did have distemper, which meant the end of the trail.

January 17, 2013

You Tryin' To Eat Me, Eh?

A remarkably mellow resident of British Columbia dealing with a too-aggressive coyote
(Language warning).

I know a Jack Russell terrier just like this. My boots still have the scars.

August 07, 2012

Blog Stew with Ingredients that You Don't Want to Know About

Off-topic but fascinating. Sewer-diving in Mexico City (with video). Sewer-cleaning the "fatbergs"  in London (with video). More sewer history.  The good old days of scavenging in sewers.

The Humane Society of the United States is sued for racketeering and other issues.

District judge Emmet G. Sullivan did dismiss allegations of mail and wire fraud, but he did so only because Feld didn't have standing to file this charge. His ruling all but set the stage for a class-action RICO lawsuit against HSUS for misrepresenting itself in its fundraising campaigns across the nation. This lawsuit easily could bankrupt HSUS, put it out of business and send some of its top executives to prison.
Funny, isn't it, that you have to go to a blogger to hear about this.

Ze artiste Christo has pushed back the construction of "Over the River" yet again. Tourism-industry types are dismayed, try to find silver lining.

I understand the argument that asks how pristine is a canyon with a highway(US 50) and a railroad in it already. But I do think that the Bureau of Land Management should have restricted OTR to the stretch between Texas Creek and Parkdale, because if there are highway blockages — and there will be — one could detour around on Colorado highways 96 and 69.

Upstream of Texas Creek, there are no detours, except very long, twisty, gravel roads through the mountains such as Fremont County Road 2 or an even longer highway detour up to Hartsel and Antero Junction.

It doesn't take much to close US 50 now: a little roadside fire, a car going into the river, a truck hitting a bridge abutment — I have seen all of these.

• Oh yes, and this: tracking coyotes with GPS collars in urban Chicago.

April 16, 2012

Studying Wiley amidst the Minivans

Consider the life of the urban wildlife biologist. No hiking, no sleeping in tents. You collar and tag your species of concern, then toss the gear in the truck and walk across the parking lot to that new VIetnamese restaurant in the strip mall.

Then you can shoot rubber bullets or something at them—for science!

January 16, 2011

Blog Stew with Courting Foxes

A pair of gray foxes.
As we move further into winter, the foxes are becoming noisy at night. Maybe this is a courting pair. The scout camera was not more than 150 yards from the house for this photo, but in 18 years I have personally seen a gray fox exactly once. They are that stealthy. (Red foxes are much more likely to show themselves.)

Some other interesting links:

July 02, 2010

Suspected Colorado Wolves Were Coyotes, This Time

Scat gathered from a large western Colorado ranch that was thought to have some wild wolves turns out to have been deposited by coyotes instead.

High Country News, which had a big feature on the possible wolves, will be publishing an update.

As writer Michelle Nijhuis notes, the story is not finished, since other wolves have filtered down from Wyoming.

November 05, 2009

The Ecological Value of Top Predators

More evidence on top predators and overall health of the land, this time from Isle Royal National Park. Research at Yellowstone NP showed similar conclusions.

More broadly, losing top predators means more "meso-predators," which different, more negative effects on the ecosystem.

Some findings:
  • Primary or apex predators can actually benefit prey populations by suppressing smaller predators, and failure to consider this mechanism has triggered collapses of entire ecosystems.
  • Cascading negative effects of surging mesopredator populations have been documented for birds, sea turtles, lizards, rodents, marsupials, rabbits, fish, scallops, insects and ungulates. 
  • The economic cost of controlling mesopredators may be very high, and sometimes could be accomplished more effectively at less cost by returning apex predators to the ecosystem.

October 23, 2009

Blog Stew with Software Skulls

• Trainer killed by ice-skating bear. Because putting bears on ice skates is still a hoot in the former Soviet Union.

• The amazing survival of a coyote. Driver Daniel East, however, not only did not care to check on the coyote, he did not even check his car for radiator leaks, etc. He and sister Tevyn had more important stuff on their minds:  they were on their way to join a community of artists.

•  "Crash-testing" skulls: Video summarizes research on using architectural modeling software to model animal skulls and to see the impact when an animal kills its prey.

July 13, 2009

Blog Stew with Minerals

• The Environmental Protection Agency works on stronger rules for hardrock mining clean-up.

Why your kid needs an aquarium.

• It is, the Denver Post proclaims, "a banner year for bugs." Even the British have noticed.

Coyotes eat Ozzie Osbourne's Pomeranian, and other coyote-related items from Patrick Burns.

May 29, 2009

Blog Stew with Mystery Mustelids

• A landowner near Granada, Colorado, sees more water after tamarisk is controlled--but it's a constant fight.

• An Englishman tries to "go green" with a home wind turbine. He goes through all the planning bureaucracy, builds it, and ends up facing the dreaded ASBO, not to mention a big fine.

"Everyone is encouraged to be environmentally friendly, and we wanted to do our bit. We never dreamed that going green would land us in court and £25,000 out of pocket."

• A game camera verifies that re-introduced fishers have been reproducing in Washington state. As for our mystery beasts of four years ago and earlier, the jury is still out whether they were fishers or just big pine martens.

• Playing paintball with coyotes.

February 26, 2009

Hypothetical Wolves and Suburban Coyotes (2)

Part 1 is here.

Meanwhile, suburban coyotes are gobbling if not Labradoodles, Labrador retrievers. The news up there is full of coyote incidents:

"Broomfield Man Reports Coyote Bite."

"Greenwood Village Makes First Coyote Kill."

"Division of Wildlife Searching for Coyotes" that threatened a resident of suburban Broomfield.

"More Pet Deaths Linked to Coyotes."

"Animal-Rights Groups Oppose Greenwood Coyote Policy."

Denver residents are urged to "haze" coyotes. Sure, flip 'em the finger. Every coyote will know just what you mean.

No, coyotes are smarter than that. They seem to sense that an area with (a) no one shooting at them and (b) plentiful food opportunities is a good deal.

On the other hand, biologists tell me, if you shoot them, others--perhaps warier--move in, Nature abhorring a vacuum and all that.

Maybe coyotes who are not wary become more aggressive, testing their potential prey.

A note from our more rural setting: M. and I walk our two large dogs every night around 10 p.m. Sometimes we hear coyotes howling. Out on their walks, the dogs act as though nothing happened. "Coyotes? What coyotes?"

But once they are up on the gated porch, they bark and bay back at them.

UPDATE: In England, foxes are becoming desensitized to people and showing up in towns--and in St. Paul's Cathedral. Same issue?

October 12, 2008

Blog Stew with Predators

Sign in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, posted May 2008. Photo by Chas S. Clifton

¶ I saw this sign in the Lamar Valley at Yellowstone. I know that when when wolves arrived, they killed coyotes. So what is happening now? I did see one set of what looked like coyote tracks along the Lamar River, but saw only one individual coyote elsewhere in the park.

¶ Now this is what I call optimistic: a large carnivore initiative for Europe. Check the link for various news items.

¶ A video on the wolf controversies in North America.