A Tale of Two Dresses

Do you ever take a moment or two out of your busy day or before you close your eyes at night and wonder who in the hell Princess Rosebud really is?

So do I, my friend, so do I.

Toward that goal, ponder upon this for a while. The following might give you (and me) some valuable insights into my intimate gray matter. (Not Fifty Shades of Gray, maybe only about three or four.) Or not. You decide.

I bought two dresses. I love them equally. I hung them side by side to admire them and I’m looking at them right now and I’m loving so much about each of them for their individual intrinsic qualities.

One is a Lilly Pulitzer. a tried and true real designer brand that I could wear anywhere and be appropriately attired. I love the sleeves and the sassy outrageous bright colors and the dynamic print. It speaks of shiny happiness to me. I also love that it’s XXS, which soothes my poor body image issues. In my convoluted and distorted mind, I feel that IF I fit into an extra extra small size and it’s loose on me, then no matter what or how I feel on the inside, I can’t be ginormous, right? (Not that I’m body shaming anyone as this is my own personal issue.) With a spiky highhigh heel or summer-y espadrille, this is a sexysexy dress cos it’s super short, too.

The other dress is a treasure I picked up at the Buffalo Exchange in Ballard when I visited Angel Boy 2.0. It’s Forever 21 (which is EXACTLY how I feel on the inside. Arrested development and all that…) I love everything about this dress too: the muted burgundy and black/tan colors, the print, the little buttons, the tassels, and the vaguely Elizabethan/hippie empire cut with the billowy long sleeves. With leggings and adorable boots, I can’t WAIT for autumn.

One dress cost ten dollars; the other was on sale and cost less than one hundred dollars. Equal love. Money didn’t factor into the love.

Two shades of Princess Rosebud. There are a few more shades to my personality, but none of them are too extreme unless you start counting the number of seashells adorning the walls and shelves of each and every surface. Hence the title of my blog…

On another totally unrelated subject, many thanks to whomever sent me the package of thongs! I don’t normally wear Calvin Klein underwear cos I love silky things next to my skin, but they are super cute. A mystery gift giver, how awesome! Or…stalky. Hmm…

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The Day I Caressed a Butterfly

That was today, actually.

It was around noon. I was in the garden, watering because it’s uncomfortably hot here in SoCal. Not as bad as Paris, cos there’s still a bit of an ocean breeze, but HOT.

A pretty orange and black spotted Monarch butterfly began to follow the spray of water from the hose, and she and I had a little chat.

Well, she listened while I talked to her.

“Hey, pretty girl, are you thirsty?”

By way of response, she floated to the ground and folded up her wings like a beautiful fan. Or like pressed together hands in namaste.

“Are you OK?” “Are you injured anywhere?” At the same time I wondered how in the world I could take a butterfly to the emergency vet.

I turned off the water and crouched down to get a closer look.

What do you need? Are you having a little rest?”

Again, no response, but I inched closer and slowly sat down, hardly daring to breathe.

We stayed that way for a moment or two, each of us motionless.

Can I touch you?” I asked. “I won’t hurt your wings, I promise.”

(By the way, the powder on the wings of a butterfly or moth is actually tiny scales made from modified hairs, and it doesn’t actually damage them if they’re touched.)

Ever so tentatively I reached out my right hand and ever so gently touched the charcoal gray folded up underside of her fan wings, and then I simply sat still as a statue.

After a few seconds in which time stopped, she opened her wings once, twice, three times, and then lifted off the ground and fluttered away.

Thank you” I whispered, and held my heart to keep the love from spilling out.

It was nothing short of an amazing encounter, don’t you agree? One of my most enchanting and enchanted days.

Binge-worthy: Scott & Bailey

While watching Mueller testify and now during a break in the proceedings, I think I’ll finish a post I started last week about a TV show I am SO beyond excited to recommend to you!

And BTW, I think Jimmy Stewart could have portrayed Robert Mueller to perfection, but prolly lots of you don’t even know who the great actor, James Stewart, even is, so my suggestion is to Google him.

I’m not much of a binge watcher; in fact, I don’t watch a lot of TV at all, but I loved The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and that’s about the extent of it. Oh, and Gossip Girl has a special place in my heart. Blair and Chuck forever!

A long time ago, I caught an episode of Scott & Bailey on our local PBS station and it piqued my interest. When I was bored and searching for something to watch on Amazon Prime besides my crush Paul Hollywood on the Great British Bake Off, S&B popped up, and I thought I’d start from the beginning.

I confess that I couldn’t get enough! It’s gritty, it’s real, and I was absolutely HOOKED.

I thought I’d ration myself to one episode a day to make it last longer, but that self control flew out the window almost immediately. Then I said to myself, “Self, you can watch two in a row, but that’s IT, I mean it.”

Well, that didn’t work either. I kept bargaining with myself until I lost all rational thought and binged the entire five seasons, knowing that when it eventually ended, I would suffer REAL pain and feel abandoned by these characters I’d come to identify with and LOVE. Yes, I mean that. I don’t use that word lightly, nor do I take those feelings lightly. I LOVE Rachel and Janet.

They’re two strong women whose lives tended to be screwed up and messy at times, but they PERSEVERED. They ENDURED. They never gave up. You haven’t lived until you study Detective Constable Janet Scott (brilliantly acted by Lesley Sharp) as she interrogates each and every criminal. From her Madonna-like smile to her soft and measured voice, she asks every question with pristine diction and straightforward dedication to solving a crime, often with a full confession. She’s the embodiment of speaking authentically with truth and conviction.(Ha ha, a double entendre.)

Both Rachel (Suranne Jones) and Janet are Detective Constables in the Major Incident Team of the Manchester Metropolitan Police Service, with the team headed by DCI Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore), whose character is loosely based on Diane Taylor, a former Detective Inspector from Greater Manchester Police. Yes, it’s a Briit show.

Scott & Bailey was an original idea by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay. Jones felt that there needed to be more roles for women “that weren’t wife-of, sidekick-to, mother-of, mistress-to, etc.”[4] Jones remarked, “We were just chatting away over a bottle of wine in a pub” when the idea came to fruition. [Sidebar: see how much can be accomplished with enough vino??]

The creators paired up with Diane Taylor to create the program. The involvement of Diane Taylor as a consultant producer is credited with maintaining Scott & Bailey‘s “rigorous authenticity”. From Taylor’s perspective, television police procedures were often filled with not only technical inaccuracies, but what she felt were inaccuracies of how officers behaved, saying: “that’s what really irritates me in other dramas – detectives crying over dead bodies and getting drunk senseless. You’d last about two weeks”. She said, of her time as a police officer in comparison to portrayals on television, that “reality is much more interesting. I could pull a thousand cases out of my head people would say would never happen. People need drama because they would not believe the reality”. (Background curated from Wiki)

I’ve shared my obsesh with all my friends and a few are as captivated as I was and totally binged. But now it’s over and I went through cold turkey withdrawals, I need something else, cos I’m jonesin’ for a fix.

For me, the only downside of this amazing show was the outrageous number of smokers. At times, the smoke was so heavy, it almost gave me a virtual asthma attack. I only hope for their health’s sake that there’s a lot less lung damage in the real Manchester Police Department.

Watch it and let me know if you love Scott & Bailey as much as I do! And also share some of your fave binge-worthy TV shows.

Conversations with a human #578. Chicken Butts.

My little three-year-old guy, the one I refer to as Angel Boy 2.0, needed to tell me something so he grabbed the phone away from his dad.

“Dad, I need to tell Grandma something right now.”

“What is it, T-man?”

“No, I’ll tell her. Give me the phone.”

“Grandma, look! My dad made a work space in the garage!”

“Wow, that’s pretty awesome, are you helping him?”

“I have my own tools, Dad’s are really really sharp. See?”

“Grandma! I’m coming to your house next Wednesday!”

“That’s right, T! Good job remembering the days of the week.”

“Theosaurus, I need to ask you a very important question, OK? Can you listen really hard?”

“OK Grandma.”

“Do you have anything special you want me to bake or make for you and Daddy to eat when you come? Muffins or dinner or anything you choose.”

I thought he’d choose oatmeal cookies or apple pie or a blueberry cake, but I wasn’t ready for what he said next…

“Hmmm. Let me think. Grandma? Can you make chicken butts?”

“Uh, how do you make chicken butts?”

“You do something and then put them in the oven and then they’re chicken butts.”

“No, T, I will not make chicken butts. Not ever. Choose something else, please!”

“Can you make popsicles?”

“Yes. I can make popsicles but I will not make chicken butts.”

“OK Grandma. Can I press the red button now?”

“Yes, T and then take the phone back to Daddy. See you soon! Bye.”

Chicken butts. Nope. Just nope.

He’ll have to be happy with an apple pie.


Stuck on the spin cycle

Quick post, but had to share.

I went to THE MOST AMAZING spin class this morning.

Upon waking at 6ish, I wasn’t all that keen to go to my regular weight lifting class ‘cos it’s sorta boring and not nearly enough cardio to burn off wine calories, so I checked the schedule, saw that one of my faves was the spin instructor, packed my shiny pink and black bike shoes, and off I went.

For this class, she had compiled a song list of 60s hits for the hour.

I’m talking classic Beatles, Hendrix and the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, the Supremes, the Who, Sam and Dave, Dylan. The ride started off with Dion and Runaround Sue.

There was so much high energy in the room that it was contagious. Beyond vibrational! No one wanted the hour to end.

Changed the tone of my whole day into joy and I’m exhausted. So good.

Update: Murder in Carlsbad

I wasn’t able to attend the preliminary hearing for the horrific home invasion murder of Carlsbad resident Marjorie Gawitt, but I’ve pulled together some details of that day.

As I previously wrote, she lived in my neighborhood and her death shook the community. We weren’t close friends, but had I had been invited to a couple of parties that she also attended and we briefly chatted. https://enchantedseashells.com/2019/03/11/not-in-carlsbad-home-invasion-and-murder/

The defendants, both transients, were arrested in a known homeless encampment near Agua Hedionda Lagoon, not far from the scene of the home invasion, hours after the attack, and blocks away from where I live.

Initially, at the arraignment on March 13, the prosecutor testified that she was stabbed about fifty times.

However, the murder was even more brutal than originally reported. The autopsy of Marj Gawitt indicated she suffered 142 knife wounds.

142 knife wounds. Let that sink in for a few minutes…

Leslie Anderson, a forensic pathology fellow with the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, said Marjorie Gawitt had 142 knife wounds, including 95 deep stabs, on her body and head from a March 11 attack in her home on Outrigger Lane.

Prosecutors in the March 13 arraignment for defendants Ian Bushee, 37, and Malissa James, 26, had said Gawitt had up to 50 knife wounds, causing people in the courtroom to gasp.

During a preliminary hearing Thursday, Anderson said the wounds were so extensive that the autopsy took two days to conduct, while most take one.

The attack itself was forceful, according to Anderson, who said one facial stab knocked a cap from one of Gawitt’s teeth. Some stabs were made so violently that they penetrated four inches deep, although the knife believed to be the weapon was only three inches, she said.

At the end of the two-day hearing Superior Court Judge Brad Weinreb said that there was enough evidence for the defendants to stand trial on charges of murder and special-circumstance allegations that the killing happened during a burglary.

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney argued there was ample evidence, including DNA on the knife, to show James wielded the weapon that killed Gawitt.

James’ attorney, John Patterson, asked the judge to dismiss a charge of torture against his client. The judge declined to do so.

Dan Segura, Bushee’s attorney, argued that there was no evidence that Bushee was with James at the scene of the killing.

Rooney said DNA and other evidence links Bushee to the crime. The prosecutor also said Gawitt used the word “they,” and may have said “people,” when she called 911 to report the attack, indicating there was more than one assailant.

The District Attorney called several witnesses, playing 911 calls and never-before-seen police body camera footage in the courtroom. The 911 call was from the victim, Marjorie Gawitt.

Dispatcher: 911. What’s your emergency?
Marjorie: (inaudible) I’ve been attacked.

That was the beginning of Gawitt’s dying message on the morning of March 11, 2019. The 63-year-old woman was sleeping in her Carlsbad home alone when police said Bushee and James tortured and stabbed her fifty times in the face, neck, and back.

Dispatcher: We’ve got help sent out to you, Marjorie. Who did this?
Marjorie: I don’t know.

It took everything Gawitt had left in her to make that 911 call. The call was so tragic, officers testifying on the stand became choked up while listening to Gawitt’s voice. Because of her final act of courage, Officer Randy Noa found her minutes later, still alive. On his body camera video, you can hear him trying to speak to Gawitt.

“You okay ma’am? Oh. Ma’am. Is he still in here or did he leave? (PAUSE) I can’t hear you, ma’am,” Officer Noa said, breathing heavily.

“It looked like she was trying to say to me that he was gone. But it was hard,” Officer Not testified inside the courtroom.

The District Attorney also played a second body camera video, worn by Officer Derek Harvey. On it, you can hear him trying to console the victim.

“Ma’am, you’re going to be okay. The paramedics are going to be here, any second, okay?” Officer Harvey said. Minutes later, Harvey’s camera recorded him finding what looked to be the weapon on the counter.

“Her eyes were clouded, dilated and fixed,” Officer Harvey said. “I knew she was… probably not going to make it.”

Sadly, he was right. Despite the paramedics arriving quickly, Gawitt died at Scripps La Jolla Hospital.

Trying to piece together what evidence they had, police was that the victim’s boyfriend’s car was missing. Hours later, surveillance video captured the stolen car in San Marcos. The suspects were taped walking around near a masonry warehouse and at a 7–11 store. Investigators said the two later ditched the car in San Marcos, and for some reason, ended up back in Carlsbad.

Police said it turns out Gawitt’s home was not the first the pair had ransacked that day.

“I looked up, and I said something is missing here,” neighbor Patricia Gapik said.

That same morning, Gapik noticed her sewing basket and her daughter’s flute were gone. Random items were also scattered near her sliding glass door.

“I then realized that someone was in my house,” Gapik testified. “I was scared.”

Luckily, Gapik was asleep the entire time, and never confronted the burglars. But investigators later found that the two cases were connected. They found some of Gapik’s belongings inside the car left in San Marcos.

According to court documents, the next trial date is scheduled for late December. If I’m in town, I’ll be sure to attend. I feel like I need to know why and how someone could commit just a heinous crime against an innocent woman and maybe I’ll discover some answers to this senseless murder.

Learning to walk

If I took a poll, I surmise that most females will agree that there’s trial and error in learning how to walk in high heels. A learning curve. I realize that not everyone likes to wear stilettos; some may even feel that it’s another indication of how we women are oppressed and repressed, and I can certainly understand that point of view.

But not for me.

I swear, and my mom would agree if she were still alive, that I begged and begged for my first set of heels when I was three years old.

Santa Claus brought them for me (we celebrate Christmas AND Hannukah lol) The little high heels arrived as a set with a faux mink stole and tiara, but it was the shoes(OK, I admit it, and the tiara) that became as natural to my persona as my curly hair and snarky repartee.

Yes, I was an extreme girly girl. I mean, did you ever stop to think of why I refer to myself as Princess Rosebud? My dad first started calling me Rosebud cos it’s similar to my IRL name, and after the tiara became part of my daily fashion accessories, it was only a matter of time before I became royalty. I’d always felt that I was born into the wrong family and this was all the proof I needed.

I really wish I hadn’t lost the tiara…I could still rock a sparkly rhinestone tiara, I know I could.

But here’s my dilemma.

I can walk for hours in heels and I don’t care if they hurt my feet, either.

But I can’t for the life of me, walk in flats. I’ve tried, I really have, but I don’t know what to do! It’s such a quandry.

I’ve practiced…but HOW? Do you shuffle? Kind of like shuffling bare feet through sand at the beach to avoid a jellyfish sting? Is it a heel/toe movement? Do you bend your knees? When? I just don’t get it at all. I feel very awkward in flats.

Even cute ones like the vegan Tory Burch’s. The Jimmy Choos are the worst. I mean, they’re super cute, but it’s impossible to figure out how to walk gracefully. It’s not a pretty sight, trust me. Even the less expensive ones don’t work right. They’re comfortable, that’s for sure, but I am definitely challenged. I keep buying more and more shoes in case I find the magic formula, but I haven’t found them yet.

There are many YouTube instructional videos–“How to Watch in Heels and Stilettos” –but nothing for flats. I guess I’ll have to only wear heels or suffer the embarrassment of lumbering and shambling down the street.

Ladies, what’s the trick? Help me!

Meeting Famous People

I love to meet famous people. I’m fascinated by them…their fame, their accomplishments, their notoriety, and how they did what they did to become recognized by strangers. I wanted to be famous but I’m not. Sigh.

FAMOUS.

Over the course of my life, I’ve met a few people of fame: (in no particular order) His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Jim Morrison, Captain Paul Watson (Sea Shepherd), Bob Hope, Marty Feldman, Rob Reiner, Chuck Norris, Gene Wilder, Peter O’Toole, Al Gore, and a few more I can’t recall right now, but as I’m thinking about it, I see that it appears that I’ve only met famous men and most of them are now deceased. Hmmm, I will have to reflect on what all that might mean at a later date.

ALMOST met Sir Paul McCartney on Saturday night, but it didn’t happen ‘cos the person I was going to be with got sick and he was my conduit to Sir Paul. I was THAT CLOSE. For real. Sigh again. I really wanted to chat with him, vegan to vegan. SIGH.

But now there’s a new level of FAME to achieve in YouTube videos, whether it’s a cooking show or how to apply makeup properly to achieve that perfect smokey eye — or how to identify and heal from narcissistic abuse.

Last week, I had an opportunity to meet someone who has a certain level of international FAME from his YouTube videos that spawned books and coaching and speaking engagements.

Richard Grannon, also known as the Spartan Life Coach, was in my SoCal area. He’s from the UK and has a huge following on YouTube and social media. With a background in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), he graduated with a BSc in Psychology from Aston University, his coaching modalities employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Zen meditation, Hypnotherapy, Systems Thinking, Classical Psychiatry and Psychodynamics and Stoic philosophy.


What I found to be super cool about him is that he also developed a globally recognized brand with his company streetfightsecrets.com which combines simplified applied psychology with self protection concepts.

What that means to me is that you can learn to beat the shit out of people who attack you, while at the same time understanding their motivation for being horrible and mean. A win-win for sure!

Did I mention that he’s really charismatic AND a VERY good looking man? Well, he is. And he’s funny and says “fuck” a LOT, which is a plus in my book.

Notwithstanding the fact that this pic doesn’t look like me one single bit AND my hair isn’t even that color, it was a cool encounter with a famous person, that’s for sure, but there’s more!

From his website spartanlifecoach.com/about-richard-grannon/
No matter what his professional role is, Richard Grannon believes in empowering people and helping them rediscover their own worth.”

The room was packed and as I looked for a seat, I did a double take when I noticed ANOTHER YouTube famous celebrity. We chatted for a bit during a break and she’s just as lovely as her videos portray her to be.

Her YouTube channel is Everyday Therapist https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu_bpO4p2R5EEtHb9FQ_O2Q/about

Sheri is a psychotherapist helping to provide support on difficult topics including abusive relationships and ways to recover. She has a BS in Political Science from UC Berkeley and an MS in Counseling from California State University, Fresno.

“I have spent years of my career working passionately for the disadvantaged, traumatized populations. My goal is to shed more light on the nuances of abuse and trauma in the hope that some people can gain some healing”

So…tell me…who have you met that qualifies as being FAMOUS?

My Coyote Friends: Coexist with Love

Good morning!

What an absolutely magical surprise!

This is the first color video of my nightly visitor. It was about 6:00 a.m. Isn’t he absolutely gorgeous?

In this black and white video, there are now two coyotes and since we know they mate for life, I have my fingers crossed waiting to see if they bring me any grandchildren! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Some coyote facts:

Urban coyotes can create territories out of a patchwork of parks and green spaces.

While many urban coyotes make their homes in large parks or forest preserves, this isn’t the case in all situations. Urban coyotes don’t need one cohesive piece of green space like a single park or a single golf course to call home. They manage to make do with surprisingly small patches of hunt-able land woven together as a whole territory.

Coyotes can thrive in a small territory if there is enough food and shelter, but if there isn’t — such as in sections of a city with only a handful of small parks, soccer fields, green spaces and the like — then they will expand the size of their territory to include enough places to hunt for food to sustain themselves. The size of an urban coyote’s range is dependent on the abundance of food and can be anywhere from two square miles to ten square miles or more. Urban coyotes tend to have smaller territory sizes than rural coyotes because there is so much more food packed into smaller areas, even if that area has only a few scattered parks.

Studies have shown that coyotes much prefer forested areas and large parks where they can steer clear of humans, and they try to avoid residential areas. But when that’s not available, they still figure out how to make do. In a large-scale study of urban coyotes by the Urban Coyote Research Program, it was discovered that “29 percent of collared coyotes have home ranges composed of less than 10 percent of natural land and 8 percent having no measurable patches of natural land within their home ranges.”

Urban coyotes may live in family packs or on their own at different points in their lives.

It’s common to see a single coyote hunting or traveling on its own, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is alone. Coyotes are highly social animals and this didn’t change when they entered the urban ecosystem. Coyotes may live as part of a pack, which usually consists of an alpha male and female, perhaps one or two of their offspring from previous seasons (known as a “helper”) and their current litter of pups. The pack may also welcome in a solitary traveler if their territory can support another member. Packs living in sizable protected areas can have as many as five or six adults in addition to that season’s pups.

However, a coyote may also spend part of its life on its own, known as a solitary coyote. This is common when young coyotes disperse from their pack and go in search of their own territory, a new pack to join, or a mate with whom to start their own pack. A coyote may also spend a stretch of time as a loner if it was an alpha in a pack but lost its mate. According to Urban Coyote Research Program, between a third and half of coyotes under study are solitary coyotes, and they are usually youngsters between six months and two years old.

Because coyotes hunt and travel alone or in pairs, it is often thought that they don’t form packs. The study of urban coyotes has helped to correct this misconception and has revealed much about the social lives of coyotes.

Urban coyotes mate for life and are monogamous.

Speaking of mates, coyotes mate for life and are 100 percent faithful to that mate. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Mammalogy found that “among 18 litters comprising 96 offspring, [researchers] found no evidence of polygamy, and detected a single instance of a double litter (pups from different parents sharing the same den).”

This loyalty holds even when there are other coyotes in adjacent territories and plenty of opportunity for cheating. But coyote pairs stay faithful and faithful for life. Some of the pairs followed by the research team were together for as long as 10 years, only moving on when one mate died.

The researchers believe that this monogamy plays an important role in the success of urban coyotes. Because a female can adjust her litter size based on the availability of food and other factors, she can have larger litters of pups in a city where there is a buffet of rodents, reptiles, fruits, vegetables and so much else in a relatively small area. She also has a dedicated mate to help her feed and raise the pups, so these large litters have a higher survival rate, resulting in more coyotes reaching an age to disperse to other areas of a city.

Even when food is less abundant or there is territory pressure from other coyotes, the couple stays together year after year. Coyotes may be opportunistic about matters of food and shelter, but not when it comes to love.

Urban coyotes do not feast on pets and garbage; they typically stick to a natural diet.

Due to sensationalistic reporting, many urban residents think all coyotes are out to eat their dog or cat at the first opportunity, or that they’re dumpster divers of the first degree. On the contrary, studies have shown that urban coyotes stick mainly to a natural diet.

Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores and will eat fruits and vegetables along with animal prey.  A study by Urban Coyote Research Program analyzed over 1,400 scats and found that “the most common food items were small rodents (42%), fruit (23%), deer (22%), and rabbit (18%).” Only about 2 percent of the scats had human garbage and just 1.3 percent showed evidence of cats. “Apparently, the majority of coyotes in our study area do not, in fact, rely on pets or garbage for their diets,” say the researchers.

This aligns logically with urban coyotes’ preference of sticking to parks, preserves, cemeteries, and other out-of-the-way areas as much as possible. The food available in these locations is rodents, reptiles, fallen fruit and other food items that are part of a natural diet.

Coyotes of course take feral cats or the occasional domestic cat that has been left outdoors, and there is certainly evidence that coyotes that have become habituated and overly bold will go after small dogs. However pets are not primary prey for them, not by a long shot.

As it is with the presence of apex predators in any ecosystem, having coyotes living and thriving in an urban area is a positive sign of the health and biodiversity of urban areas. Their presence can be considered a thumbs-up for the quality of a city’s urban ecology.© Jaymi Heimbuch / Urban Coyote Initiative

Urban coyotes often switch from naturally diurnal and crepuscular activity to nocturnal activity.

When urban residents see coyotes “in broad daylight” it is often assumed that the coyote has grown overly bold or is ill in some way. Actually, it is perfectly normal for a coyote to be out during the day, as this is their natural time for hunting.

Urban coyotes have made a behavior change to avoid humans, switching from being active at dawn and dusk or during daylight hours, to being mostly active at night. This strategy lowers their risk of encountering a species of which they are naturally afraid while still hunting in an urban territory.

However, if a coyote needs to be out during the day to hunt or to get from one place to another, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong or odd about the coyote’s behavior. In fact, in the spring and summer when raising their pups, coyotes need to find more food and so may be more active during the day and thus spotted more often. Urban residents frequently misinterpret daytime sightings as a rise in the urban coyote population or that the coyote could be rabid, neither of which are usually true.

Urban coyotes help control the populations of other problematic urban wildlife like rodents.

It’s so easy to think of urban places as home to humans, pigeons, crows and raccoons, and that’s about it. But our cities are increasingly home to an ever more diverse array of wildlife species rats have been an issue in cities ever since cities were invented. Coyotes play a role in limiting the populations of these species and more, helping to keep a balance and increase biodiversity in urban ecosystems.

Rodents are the primary food source for coyotes in rural and urban areas alike, and studies have shown an increase in the rodent population in areas where coyotes are removed.

The easiest way for city residents to avoid negative interactions with coyotes is to avoid feeding them, either accidentally or on purpose, and otherwise habituating them to humans.

When coyotes become overly bold or aggressive, and in the rare instances when coyotes have bitten humans, it usually is discovered that they were being fed.

Coyotes have a natural fear of humans, and like most wildlife, will start to lose that fear and even become aggressive if they are being fed. This is the reason wildlife managers warn people to never feed wildlife, and there is the saying, “A fed coyote is a dead coyote.”

Once a coyote loses its fear, it is likely to become a problem animal and that means animal control will have little choice but to lethally remove it.

Feeding coyotes sometimes happens on purpose, but it can also be done accidentally when people leave pet food on their porches intending it for cats or dogs, when they leave scattered seeds under the bird feeder, or even when they leave fallen fruit or compost in their yards.

Educating the public on the importance of not feeding wildlife and removing any food sources, as well as educating them on safe and humane coyote hazing strategies to maintain coyotes’ fear of humans, is the best way a city can avoid negative interactions and instead enjoy quiet coexistence.

People often feed urban coyotes accidently by leaving out pet food, open compost bins, fallen fruit and other tasty morsels for these opportunistic eaters to find. © Jaymi Heimbuch / Urban Coyote Initiative

Trapping and killing or relocating urban coyotes does not reduce the overall population of coyotes.

A common reaction from urban and suburban residents when they learn coyotes are living in their area is to ask for the removal of the coyotes, either through lethal means or by trapping and relocating them. However, animal control officers have learned through a lot of experience that this is not only a lot harder to do than it sounds, but it does nothing to reduce the number of coyotes living in an area. In fact, it has the opposite effect.

Coyotes are territorial and keep other coyotes out of their home range. The larger the territory of a coyote pack, the fewer coyotes are present overall. Removing coyotes from an area opens that location up for new coyotes to come in and claim it as their own (and there will always be more coyotes coming in to fill a void), often resulting in a short-term increase in coyotes as the territory lines are redrawn by the newcomers. Additionally, when there is less pressure from neighboring coyotes and more food available, female coyotes will have larger litters of pups, again creating a short-term increase in the number of coyotes in that area.

There are other problems with trapping coyotes. As the Humane Society points out, “The most common devices used to capture coyotes are leg-hold traps and neck snares. Both can cause severe injuries, pain, and suffering. Leg-hold traps are not only cruel and inhumane for coyotes, but may also injure other wildlife, pets, or even children. Non-target wild animals are also caught in traps, and many sustain injuries so severe that they die or must be killed.”

If a city wants to limit or reduce the number of urban coyotes living there, the easiest thing to do is allow existing coyotes to work out their own territories, naturally stabilizing the coyote population. There will never be more coyotes in an ecosystem than that ecosystem can support, so (despite what some may think) a city can never become “overpopulated” or “infested” with coyotes.

We can take extra steps to make an area less appealing to coyotes by removing all extra food sources – from fallen fruit or ripe vegetables from backyard gardens to pet food left on back porches – and removing sources of water. The fewer resources available, the larger the territories need to be to support the resident coyotes, and the fewer coyotes there are overall.

Coyotes are here to stay and removing them is not and will never be an option. Our one and only path forward is coexistence. https://urbancoyoteinitiative.com

Learn more about coyotes and support the great work of Projectcoyote.com

Cats, Rats, and Bats

Sorry, no pics to share ‘cos the video is grainy and black and white, but these were my three visitors last night at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

In that order. The first video shows a cat sitting on the steps, looks to be dark gray and I’ve seen him before. The next is of a very large rat running down the steps, and the third one is a bat flying directly across the camera lens.

It sounds like it could be the start of a joke…”A cat, a rat, and a bat walked into a bar…” (Although I have no idea what kind of a punchline to write. Maybe Mrs. Maisel or Suzie could help.)

Or a children’s book, “The Tall Tale (Tail) of the Cat, the Rat, and the Bat”,

Or as Theo would say, “Grandma, that rhymes!”

Since I don’t have any decent pics of last night’s guests, here’s our beloved Bandit who ruled us all for thirteen years before she died of chronic renal failure.

The bat is from one of my favorite books, Stellaluna, by (my friend) Janell Cannon.

Image result for stellaluna

And the rat, well, this gif says it all…

(There were no coyotes this time, but I’m happy to report that I’ve been seeing TWO beautiful creatures in the garden, which is awesome as coyotes mate for life. I would be even happier if one day they brought some little ones to visit. It would be a dream come true. I could be their grandma, too!)