Eastern Sierra

Eastern Sierra
Eastern Sierra snow October 2010

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Coyotes ~Nature Notes~051012

I've been posting recently about a pack of coyotes which I recently spotted while taking my morning walk.  Now, mind you, we live in the middle of Palm Desert, CA.  The area where I go walking is in the city-owned golf course.  We plebians aren't allowed into the golf course (that's reserve for PAYING members), but on the outskirts of it are some nicely maintained dirt roads.  I see people walking their dogs along these roads all the time, some off leash.  Frankly, I was walking around this area in a counter-clockwise manner until recently and that was only because one morning when I pulled in, I just decided to walk the other way.  So, I don't know how many times I walked right past these coyotes.  I've identified one female and now call her "Flat Ears" because her ears are always flattened out, not in an agressive mode, but she probably has ear mites (I'm guessing)...or maybe, she's just curious.  She likes to sit and keep an eye on me.  She isn't afraid of me, just cautious.  I actually prefer it that way.  Then, one morning, I saw her mate (or, so I think it is, as there were two of them).  I noticed him because his white chest was sticking out among the brown and tan bushes.  So, now there were two.  I'd actually heard a pack of them one morning way off in the distance (this IS, after all, an area covering a whole city block).  It's actually on the edge of town, almost to the train tracks and Interstate 10, which I don't believe they would cross.  I've seen too many coyotes killed by cars on my way to school.  They seem to like this area.  There are plenty of water courses for them which provide water.  There are palm trees which provide shade and moisture and dates.  There are ducks on the ponds, which provide dinner.  And, there are PLENTY of cottontails and jackrabbits for them to eat.  I've heard that the kitchen helpers at the golf course restaurant throw out food scraps for them and that DOES worry me a bit.  I hope they don't think I'm a meal!  And, then two mornings ago, when I pulled in, I spotted "Flat Ears" right away, and then soon a second coyote.  I did a short walk that morning, an turned around, and spotted them AND another coyote.  That was 3.  Soon, however, I saw ANOTHER one...that was 4.  That was a pack.  And, I was out there ALONE, armed only with a cell phone.  They weren't agressive at all and two of them hightailed to the other side of the bushes when I clapped my hands and yelled at them.  I figured a little dose of reality was in store for them.  I believe most people, especially those with dogs, wouldn't be happy to see a pack of coyotes.  And, I really didn't wish for the coyotes to come any closer to me.  This morning, yup...one of them was sitting up on the little ridge, watching.  He/she quickly disappeared when I went walking by (I'm always at least 50-75 yards away from them).  I find them as interesting as they find me and I hope to continue to learn about them.  I think I found a spot where one of them napped during the day last Friday when I walked up there after school.  In fact, one of them ran from the water pond across the dirt road right in front of me and kept going!  I don't mind them studying me (they probably know my scent by now), as long as they don't approach me.  And, I, in turn, am improving my tracking skills by studying their movements.  Nature Notes for May 10, 2012.   To visit Nature Notes, please go to:   http://ramblingwoods.com/   NOTE:  Somebody asked if I was nervous around the coyotes.  No, I'm not.  I'm more nervous around my horses because I can't move fast enough to get out of their way and they are so big!  I've always had dogs and I did scare these coyotes off once by yelling and waving my arms when all 4 of them were staring at me.  I only hope they do NOT attack a small dog because many people DO take their dogs for a walk right through their territory.  Heck, I walked right by them for MONTHS and never saw them myself!  Coyotes HAVE snatched small dogs from people in Palm Springs, right in the city.  These attacks are documented.  I do keep a wary eye on them and they do keep wary eyes on me, so we are at an unwritten understanding right now.


jewaicious said...

Your shots are lovely, and calming, even knowing the coyotes were within view.

Rambling Woods said...

Interesting how you have been able to identify individuals. I agree that feeding is a bad idea. I wonder how aggressive they can really be or do they want to escape... Interesting post for Nature Notes. Thank you Cheryl Ann...Michelle

Gaelyn said...

Urban coyotes often make meals of small dogs and cats. Just part of the circle.

soho stitch said...

Mmm..... fringes are always challenging places, especially where wild meets cutlivated. I really like how your photos maintain the invisibility of the coyotes.