Learn to Coexist/Love the Beautiful Songdog | Coyote Facts

I didn’t write this and I can’t find the author to cite, but here’s one of the best posts I’ve seen about coyotes that’s worth reading and sharing:

“We humans have a strange urge to create monsters. For many, it’s not enough to believe in predators that hunt prey. We have to also project strange, sinister, and even supernatural forces onto the creatures who share our planet.

Since the beginning of time, we’ve created and exaggerated stories of dragons that abduct maidens, giant eagles that grab children, the Big Bad Wolf who pretends to be a sheep or a grandmother. The most modern version of these myths involves none other than the coyote: a 25-pound omnivore often seen in the suburbs, where it eats a diet containing mostly rodents.

You’ve likely heard about how coyotes are vicious beasts who come up with complex, cunning plans to befriend innocent dogs. When the dog thinks it has made a friend— as the legend says— the coyote will lead it back to a den, where a large pack of vicious coyotes leap upon the dog and eat it.No matter how many times you’ve heard a version of this story, it’s not true.

Coyotes do not live or hunt in large packs.

A coyote family usually includes just one pair of adults and their young of the year. While the family does occasionally work together to hunt, they usually prefer to hunt alone, and they never hunt in the large groups of 10, 20, or 30 animals that many claim to have witnessed.

While coyotes are extremely intelligent animals, their minds don’t work like human minds. They don’t develop complex plans for the future, and they don’t have a theory of mind— the ability to conceptualize and predict another animal’s thoughts and perceptions— in the same way that humans do.

A coyote simply isn’t capable of “lying” to a dog by pretending to be its friend or developing a plan to lead it into a trap. Like many other myths, the story about the coyote luring a dog to its death probably started as a misunderstanding.

Coyotes and domestic dogs are very close relatives, so coyotes have been known to sometimes approach them socially. That can include the kind of bowing and tail-wagging that we all know means, “Be my friend!” in dog language.

When a family of coyotes is heard singing and yipping later, the same people who witnessed the coyotes approaching dogs might mistake them for a pack ready to hunt. Coyotes use rapidly rising and falling notes fo create an auditory illusion, which makes a pair or trio of coyotes sound like a large pack, so it’s easy to be intimidated by the sound.

But just because coyotes are singing doesn’t mean they’re killing a dog or making sinister plans: it just means they’re a family and they’re together.With all that said, coyotes are opportunists, and like any other predator, they will eat whatever prey is available if they’re hungry enough. A small dog, especially a toy breed, may be hunted by a coyote. This is one of many reasons that small dogs should not be left outside unattended, particularly at dawn and dusk. Although coyotes aren’t known to target larger dogs as prey, they will fight with a dog if provoked, and both the dog and coyote can be injured or killed. Responsible pet owners should always take steps to prevent these incidents.

Lying, deception, and complicated, evil plans are human traits, not coyote traits. There’s no need to project the flaws of our own species onto our wild neighbors or to assume the worst of a coyote’s friendly or confused behavior.

We need to understand and coexist with our wildlife, not to fear them.”

Bunny Love

I’m writing this post from the dentist’s office where I’m waiting for the lidocaine to take effect. This time it’s merely to replace the temporary crowns with the permanent ones, but I have time to share a couple of photos from yesterday.

Happy October 1 from a couple of my bunnies.

They LOVE watermelon!

Lothario the Lounge Lizard

My Great Basin Fence lizard looks quite suave, doesn’t he?

I wonder if he’s lounging around waiting for his sweetheart to show up.

“Go Home, Fly Guys!”

Out of the mouths and all that.

Char has a teensy bit more of a calm way about her; slightly less intense than her force of nature brother, but still as determined to exist in this world on her terms.

She calls flies “fly guys”. No one is really sure where this monniker came from, but now we all refer to them that way.

Also for some reason, she doesn’t like ants. It seems as if she believes they purposely infringe on her space. When she sees ants, she crouches down and blows on them, “Gone, ant!”

I’ve attempted to explain that they have as much right to live here on planet Earth as we do and we need to be kind, and I know her big brother understands that, but Char views the world from a different lens.

Like I said, C is slightly less feral than her brother and dad (and mom too).

She really doesn’t like to go camping.

“Home NOW!” she says.

“Did you have fun camping in the mountains?”

A resounding “NO” from Char. The girl loves her comforts and her lotions and her sparkles.

I’m sure you can guess who appropriated all of my Hello Kitty items.

Pretty funny. Pretty cute, too.

When Doves Cry: Life and Death

**This is so strange. I only published this post today, June 26, but it shows that it was published on the 24th, so I am RE-writing and posting again. Very odd WordPress, very odd.

We had a bit of rain, just a few drops, definitely not the kind of rain we need here in the Southwest, but I think my veggie garden was grateful for it.

When I went outside to check on the status of baby lettuce seedlings, I noticed a Monarch butterfly entangled in the netting surrounding the garden. I’ve been forced to use the barrier to keep out squirrels and rats and bunnies. There are plenty of other things in the garden those guys can eat, so I don’t feel too bad about restricting them from my yummy greens.

Carefully, I removed the netting from those delicate wings.

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After flying off, s/he returned with a mate and they circled my head a few times as if to thank me. “You’re welcome, guys! I was glad to help.”

Later that afternoon, right before dusk, I went for a walk. There were still beautiful clouds in the sky and I was thinking happy thoughts about the butterflies.

Suddenly, before I could even react, several things happened at once. A white van was driving down the street faster than the twenty-five mile an hour speed limit. A dove flew low across the street, left to right. (Yup, you can see where this is going.) The driver MUST have seen the bird, I’m sure of it.

Without slowing down or trying to avoid the imminent impact, the van ran into the bird, and to make it even more horrific, the back tires finished the slaughter. There were no other cars on the road; simply slowing down would have avoided it completely.

It doesn’t matter to me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this tragedy. I ran out into the street to see if I needed to take the bird to a vet, but it was too late. Too late. I crouched down on my knees over the little dove almost in shock at the massive destruction the van did to his body. I took a photo because I wanted to remember the poor dear and honor his/her life, but it’s too gruesome to post and I feel it would be disrespectful to the innocent creature.

The bird was probably on his way home, and there might have been nesting babies that won’t be fed and won’t survive all because of the actions of one unaware or uncaring human. What if it was one of the doves I just wrote about that often visit me in the garden? How incredibly sad.

Well, that stripped me of the joy of saving a butterfly, that’s for sure. I’m a fixer and a helper. It’s a tough lesson for me to comprehend that sometimes things can be so terribly damaged that they can’t be mended or put back together, like this poor little bird who was beyond repair.

This made me think of Prince. When doves cry, so do I.



Moose in Grand Tetons

What a beautiful boy! He was almost completely camouflaged, resting in the cool grass, enjoying a late afternoon snack. Those antlers are magnificent, aren’t they?

I could have stayed there for hours, watching him in silence, but I had to go. He didn’t seem too concerned and kept eating and eating.

Unlikely Friends: Egret and Ducks

On my walk today, I looked through the fence into the culvert that drains into Agua Hedionda Lagoon and saw a pair of white egrets. One flew away, but I was able to snap a pic of this beauty. Look closer and you’ll see he’s sharing a bit of land with two ducks.

And then this other handsome sun-glistened mallard decided to swim over and join the fun.
Co-existence peacefully without social distancing!

The late afternoon light intensifies the male’s colorful plumage that helps them attract females.

Maybe they’ve forged a friendship while they forage together for food. It could be possible even though I learned that egrets (and herons) can and do eat ducklings, but I watched their interactions for quite a while and didn’t observe any aggressive or frightened behavior. It was all peaceful and serene, just like my wishes for happily ever afters.

(Some) Creatures Great and Small

With a nod to All Creatures Great and Small by veterinarian James Herriot, this is what my Sunday looked like.

We started off the day at the beach and I’m beyond sad that I didn’t have my good camera with me so I couldn’t capture the magic of a school of dolphin jumping and splashing in the water. I’m sure this paddleboarder was happy because they seemed to follow him wherever he went. Trust me, there are about six dolphin in this photo.

On the way home, we saw a bit of an odd sight…check out these seagulls that shouldn’t have been this far away from the beach. They usually only fly inland when there’s a storm, so I have no idea why they were flying around in circles and then perched on the telephone lines.

Today was a work project day in the garden, cleaning up around the rosemary and lavender. I sat down for a minute for a wheatgrass break and this little alligator lizard stopped by to say hi. I scratched his back with a stick and he allowed me to take these pics.

All in all, a great Sunday for creatures great and small.

To A Mockingbird

He sat for the longest time on a volunteer Brazilian peppertree. The original tree was removed because it’s an invasive species, but also resilient and obnoxious, an aggressive woody weed which displaces native vegetation and rapidly invades disturbed sites.

To A Mocking Bird

The name thou wearest does thee grievous wrong;
No mimic thou: that voice is thine alone.
The poets sing but strains of Shakespeare’s song;
The birds, but notes of thine imperial own.– Henry Jerome Stockard

#WordlessWednesday

A Tragedy: WOLVES DELISTED

As if 2020 couldn’t be any worse with Covid, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and oh, I don’t know, simply the death of our entire DEMOCRACY, THIS happened and I am truly distraught…

From my friend, Jamie Rappaport Clark, President of Defenders of Wildlife:

It’s a sudden and tragic end to what should have been one of the great wildlife comeback stories of all time. Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially stripped gray wolves in the lower 48 states of their federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

This ruthless decision leaves gray wolves at the mercy of states, some with increasingly hostile anti-wolf policies – even some where we’ve already seen wolves slaughtered. This isn’t over.

We’re taking this administration to court to defend gray wolves fighting for their lives. Will you help?  

Wolves need your help today. Please make your emergency donation to help fight back to save the lives of wolves and other imperiled animals!

We cannot and will not allow wolves to be abandoned, and their recovery to be cut off after decades of work.  Wolves occupy only 10% of their former range and need continued federal protection to fully recover. There are still vast areas of suitable habitat in the lower 48 states where wolves have not recovered, including Colorado. 

As recently as last year, a wolf spotted in Colorado brought a spark of optimism for the future of wolves in the Southern Rockies.  That hope could now be smashed. Delisting wolves is the wrong move at the wrong time. We’ve already seen a wave of violence as some anti-wolf states have allowed even more barbaric methods to trap, shoot and kill gray wolves – and things could get a lot worse for these wolves without our help. 
Give to Save Wolves
We’ll never stop fighting against anti-wolf extremists and politicians working to turn back the clock on wolf recovery. Today’s setback isn’t the end of the gray wolf story. 

If you agree, please consider pitching in to keep up efforts to save these wolves and protect them across their historic habitat.

Thanks for your compassion and your steadfast support for the wildlife we love.

On a personal note, I’ve been fighting to save and protect wolves pretty much my whole life and while we rejoiced when wolves were originally placed on the endangered species list, it didn’t stop the senseless murder of wolves and their families.

Check out some of my other wolf-related posts:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2013/11/26/saving-wolves/
https://enchantedseashells.com/2013/09/26/actress-jessica-lange-is-amazing-her-letter-in-defense-of-wolves/
https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/03/12/the-sad-song-of-the-wolf/