I love coyotes. I know it is controversial to say that, because to many people they are pests who kill chickens and cats, depending on where you live. But in my neighborhood and in many urban neighborhoods across the country we are in an uneasy coexistence.
For me, they represent the wild in the city and if truth be told, are a bit magical; that as urbanized as we are we can’t get rid of the creatures (including raccoons, skunks, and opossums) who roamed here before humans did. In my area they come from the mountains and down the river and have even been seen playing on the beach, a sight I would love to see!
They are light on their feet-they are mostly fur, so they don’t weigh much-they seem to just appear without a sound, a movement causing me to glance over as one darts down a side path just yards from me. Recently, one came out of the bushes as I walked past, not running away, but watching me, then sitting down as I whispered, “You’re ok, you’re ok.”
Today, the young one of the ‘territory’ has been on the move all morning. This is his first year of hunting and I think he had trouble finding breakfast. I first saw him early and had sightings of him out the front and back windows of my house for hours after. He has been hazed by my neighbors many times today, but he has pluck and won’t give up on a meal of raw squirrel or rat. Or sadly, someone’s cat who got left outside, as mine did a year ago of which I am still trying to forgive myself….
Coyotes are smart. Wonder why you don’t see dead coyotes on urban streets? They look both ways for traffic (I have seen this). They climb high-wire fences by griping their nails in the mesh and hopping over. They consider the part of the city they are living in as their territory. When instinct tells them their numbers are low the females have larger pups or larger litters, which is why authorities discourage their culling or removal. Coyotes have fine-tuned reproduction and the raising of pups in urban settings with the male as an admirable parent who not only guards the den, forages for food for his family, but plays with his pups, a trait zoologists believe is a mark of animal intelligence.
Coyotes are here to stay and if you haven’t figured it out, yet, I am unapologetically on their team! I wish people would spend more time learning about them, instead of trying to figure out ways to get rid of them. They seem to know which human to be afraid of and which they can safely pass. My favorite time to meet them is in the dark, early in the morning. They are like a spectral, a phantom being and for me an enchanted encounter.