Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The daily coyotes

Maybe it's the time of year? Maybe it's the snow? I have no explanation for why 
all of these coyotes continue to show up every single morning. 
I took the pictures below through the windows Tuesday, around 8:15.

Look closely and you will see four out of the pack of nine.
They first appear in far end of the corral and travel counterclockwise around the house.


Their behavior is so predictable that I know when to move from one window to another.


Lucy and the boys are still eating breakfast, and Smooch is in the back yard barking. 
Johnny and the chickens are in the barn.


I know nothing about coyote behavior to intelligently explain what these guys? gals? are doing.
My best guess is hunting for food.


The pack doesn't stay tightly together. They break off in smaller groups, 
which irritates me to no end because I can't get them all in one shot.


These two hang back to watch Smooch barking at them.


This one stands motionless under a juniper, where I know there are a boatload of rabbit holes.


His buddy comes along to wait with him. 
I hope the bunnies have telepathy and can hear me telling them to stay in their burrows.


Let me zoom out so you can get your bearings. 
The area in question is part of the tree cave outside my bedroom window.


Something frightened all the coyotes and they ran off.
Maybe one of the bunnies farted.


Whatever it was, they seemed to be in agreement that it was time to move on.


While all his buddies ran off, this one stayed back and howled, then howled some more.
I'm thinking he was inviting Smooch to join the pack.


It was at that point that I put the camera down, made Smooch come inside, and decided
she'd be staying in the house every morning henceforth until the pack moves on for good.


40 comments:

  1. Smooch may not be safe outside with a pack of coyotes. I have heard they will kill dogs especially if they think its in their territory.

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  2. They must be looking for a diner for breakfast. Very efficient hunters, breaking into smaller groups to check out more area. I wonder what the howler was saying, and to whom. "Be home in a tick, honey! No McMuffins on this stretch."?? "Hey, Smooch, if you want a good time, call this number!"??

    Surprising, in fact, that they work in such a predictable pattern; how to do surprise prey that way? It must work, though -- they look awfully well fed.

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  3. Well done, Carson. It was almost like I was at your place watching the pack come and go. Thanks!

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  4. Those are some mighty handsome tails!

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  5. I hope Johnny is actually shut into the barn at night.

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    1. I'm thinking the exact same thing! Time to get a litter box and lock him up at night.

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  6. Very interesting. We lost some livestock and I did a little research. I have no understanding of your group, but I did learn that coyotes are the only predator that man has been unable to reduce their population. If the numbers in a territory go down the coyotes will allow other coyotes into their territory and have larger litters of pups. I liked that all coyotes in a pack have jobs/roles. When members get too old to hunt they watch the pups while others hunt. Have you seen the book or bloghttp://www.dailycoyote.net?
    Thanks for the great post & pictures. I am so happy that I live in a place that I share with wildlife. I often hear coyotes when I am out a little after 3am, but my husband says that he doesn't hear them at 4:30?

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  7. Molly and I have howled back and forth with coyotes way, way over the hill. I doubt I'd be real thrilled to have one within a few hundred feet, howling at us... Your howler might well have been just saying Good day to Smooch. Or nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
    I think that stopping and staring that they do is so interesting. Very curious creatures they are, I think.
    It seems clear that they're hunting . . . coyotes usually are . . . I wonder if there are young ones in the group that are being taught the ropes of hunting in winter.

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  8. I love the Howling Shots... these guys are just beautiful.. they must be hunting rabbits while waiting for one of your chickens to become available.. i think this is why God made rabbits produce like ....well, Rabbits... food source for the bigger critters..

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  9. Wow, that would be a troubling pack every day. Safe and sound is certainly the order of the day for your critters and you.
    We went camping in the Jemez with our two St Bernard girls. The coyote pack came down into the campground, circled our tent a couple of times. The older Saint got on top of Shelley to protect her, the younger (chicken dog) got in between Joe and I in our sleeping bag. Great story now but oh so scary then.

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  10. Bunny farts... Ha haa
    In the house for sure, there are too many and they are huge. Great photos...start a wall with wildlife

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  11. I am impressed with your photography skills. The snow in the trees and the coyote coat pattern show so well.

    Laurie

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  12. I'm listening to ours howling right now. It was a busy night for them, I heard them all night long. Yours are big beautiful ones with big fluffy tails. Ours look thin without winter coats. I think they are trying to get your security guards used to seeing them so they can walk right in. Those sneaky coyotes.

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  13. Our friend a few years back lost his malamute when three of these vile creatures tag-teamed her (the malamute) in her back yard. She put up a fight, but the coyotes have no scruples. They are no longer beautiful to me. (Your post is amazing though.). Aunt Jean

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    1. I completely agree. The coyote will take down any size dog, sheep, calves, whatever. My aunt lost a dog to these vile creatures. I'd be shooting at them, and I'm a good shot. They are circling to find a place to get in. They know there are chickens and cats, which to them are just a food source. They will take down Smooch given the chance. If you don't want to shoot them, get a hunter to do so. They will only keep multiplying. The more of them, the more brave they get. Sorry, but I've seen the destruction they can do, I never want to lose a cat or dog to them.

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    2. I agree...they are vile and would be great target practice. I would eleminate them ASAP.

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  14. You take amazing pictures ... and live in an amazing place. Around here there is a cycle that switches between high coyote numbers and high rabbit numbers. Perhaps you are at the top of the coyote swing ... which isn't good news for the rabbits. 8(

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  15. Summer food was so abundant, lots of prey to hunt. I bet they smell the chickens and want a taste too. Wise to bring Smooch in. They are badasses for sure.

    My sister's Aussie carried on a conversation with a coyote one night. She was making sounds my sister had never heard before. Sheila was indoors. Doesn't sleep outside. Has nice pen so she can be sort of outside in warm weather while her people are at work. Needs to keep eyes on the human herd. Busy girl.

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  16. Great photos. They are there for food and one careless moment by their prey. We had neighbors here who had the coyotes come down close to the house while they were sitting on their porch. The coyote came in, grabbed their small dog and ran off. There was no stopping it then. If you read Rough String, she described the coyotes nearly killing one of their dogs. They are predators and they would try to kill Smooch or Johnny if they could. I enjoy hearing them, like to see them, but they are killers because they have to be. If Johnny makes the mistake of ever being outside while they are there, he will be gone. That's the rough part of wilderness living :(

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  17. Nice photos! They look healthy and beautiful, but I hope they move on quick.

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  18. Those are wonderful photographs and the coyotes all look so healthy and beautiful! I would bet the smell of your chickens brings them around each day. Have you ever been to the blog called the Daily Coyote? I've been following for years. I bet Shreve and Mike could answer your coyote questions.

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  19. Ditto what MeadowMice said, they follow the rabbit population. You probably have a higher than normal rabbit population because they have a ready food supply in your hay barn. The rabbits numbers are also likely to be high in your area because of all the grass you had this past year. Coyotes are the only predator whose numbers go up as a result of all of our attempts to get rid of them. They respond to hunting pressure by spreading out and breeding faster, which is why they are now in every state in the country. They used to only exist in the southwest. If left alone, their population will stabilize. The stable packs tend to be less dangerous to their neighbors as they have a more stable hierarchy. A scattered pack, under a lot of hunting stress will be more aggressive and opportunistic about what they hunt.

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  20. Wow! those are some cool shots. i have always thought coyotes were beautiful, but I don't want them near my place like that! Yikes! Thanks for sharing!

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  21. More than a bit worried that they are all out so late after daylight. I'm not as good-hearted as you. I'd be doing everything I could to scare them off. What if you were caught with Smooch out on a walk by that entire pack? Smooch would be done for and you'd be in danger as well. :(

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  22. Through the magic of my "Long Distance Coyote Communication Translator Machine (WiFi enabled)" I can tell you what the coyote's are saying. The conversation this a.m. was on the order of "Let's see if that human is up now. Look, there she's there at that window. It's amazing how predictable she is, watch, she'll go the the next window...hmm, let's check out the breakfast bunnies. I'm a bit peckish." There was some more chatter about "giving the dog a shout-out. She's quite a digger, I wonder if she'd like to join us" and "Keep an eye out for those dangerous donks. The neighborhood just isn't the same since they moved in." And so on.

    Thanks for the daily posts from your little bit of heaven. Reading your blog is one of the high points of my day! Take care.
    LaurieB in middle Ga. (my little bit of heaven)

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  23. That's easy. Just prepare a sign NO COYOTES LOITERING and plant it in their path. They need to know.

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  24. Beautiful creatures. I know you'll be keeping an eye on Smooch, JCC and the rest of the herd.

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  25. Great pics! I know that in the west coyotes are mostly considered vermin and often shot on sight, but I love seeing them healthy and happy out doing their thing like nature intended.

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  26. Great photos! I love the coyotes but on my walks my lab has decided he likes to chase the coyotes so he has to stay on the leash when we go down "coyote alley" I think George, Allen and Lucy will protect you but glad everybody can be locked up. I wonder how many you would see if you had a trail cam out at night. Betsy

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  27. What wonderful photos! Beautiful animals but troubling so close to your home and friends. I have to say that I hope they take your place off their daily route soon.

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  28. Oh Carson, these pictures are magical. The landscaping is breathtaking. You need a shotgun. Period. That pack will be back probably with others. I lived on a small farm and they would often get close due to the chickens and my 'then' husband would knock off a couple of rounds to scare them away....but it also scared our dogs and goats half to death. I hear they are frightened by us humans, but I would never chance it if I lived alone in the middle of paradise. Get a BIG gun. Happy Hump Day!

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  29. Amazing photos. Our ginger cat Rusty, very like JCC, was killed and taken by a coyote in our SUBURBAN neighborhood. We had no idea there were any around here.

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  30. January is mating season. Groups of males will follow females until they mate in late January and February. They hunt following food sources and water supply (maybe your water tanks?) and they can jump an 8 ft fence. Bushy tails held horizontal are a threat display. A woman who lives in our suburban neighborhood with a house on the creek watched two coyotes attack her 90 lb German Shepherd in broad daylight one morning. The Shepherd was bitten up but did manage to run them off. Other cats and small dogs have gone missing, so she was lucky. That's a big pack you have there. Please be careful Carson.

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  31. get your gun ready---not the camera. Sorry but I grew up in SD and they killed sheep (lambs) and anything else they can lure out of the yard.
    They lured my grandpas blue heeler dog away from the house and tore him up so bad-he died on the way to the vet. Yes- they are beautiful
    but its breed is deadly. Depending on how hungry they are---they get very brave.
    BadRiverBlonde

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  32. An American in Tokyo1/14/15, 4:59 PM

    Nine sounds scary! If you are not a fan of guns, can you get some firecrackers and shoot them off near the coyotes?

    Stay safe!

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  33. It looks like they are casing the joint, there is too much temptation inside that fence. You should lock Johnny up at night, he would make a good meal for them. Really I would want them gone, they can cause you some real heart break.

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  34. Laelaps just posted an article on coyote evolution and how today's coyotes are smaller than their Ice Age ancestors. You might find the article interesting. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/14/how-extinction-changed-the-coyote/

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  35. Quite a few folks in Palm Springs have lost their small dogs to coyote attacks. The people were walking their dogs on a leash and the coyotes brazenly came up and grabbed their pet and ran off with it. Additionally, two women in Indio were bitten by coyotes. Now I'm going to worry about Johnny Cat and the chickens. I remember one time when we lived near my in-laws. We had a 6' fence around the back yard and we had our first German Shepherd. Well, some DUMB coyote decided to jump (YES, JUMP!!!) the fence into the back yard. On his way down, he spotted our HUGE German Shepherd (Nick was HUGE!). I swear, he put the brakes on mid-air! He actually landed IN the yard, took one look at Nick, and went BACK OVER the fence! While I respect coyotes for their ability to survive, I do NOT want them around my pets!

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  36. You probably already know this but coyotes will send out a single member to lure a pet dog away from his/her property by feigning play with the pet dog. Once they have lured the dog a distance from home, the rest of the pack members will come and attack/kill the pet dog. As beautiful as they look in your photos, they are deadly. Be careful!!

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