Country living is a continuing adventure

Living in the country, we are reminded every day that there is more to life than the pursuit of income and the struggle to understand events taking place in distant places.

There is an inexorable ebb and flow of wildlife activity that reminds us that survival is an uncertain and risky business for those born without opposable thumbs.

In the mornings, we see fawns like this one nibbling on new growth just a few yards from our deck. In the late afternoons, we see herds of deer silhouetted against the green meadow of a neighbor’s field. These graceful animals create the sense of a gentle pastoral existence.

However, in the long dark hours before dawn, we hear coyotes howling in the woods around our house. The yelps and eerie howls that echo from one quadrant are soon answered from another quadrant. This concert is occasionally interrupted by the high-pitched screams of coyote prey and the frantic yapping of the coyotes in at the kill.

Our cats no longer explore the nearby woods, which is a relief because coyotes are fond of house pets as a change from their customary diets. This USDA photo shows a coyote taking down a sheep, so I imagine they take a toll of the deer in the area.

I need to investigate a huge brush pile which was created when we cleared away trees for our house lot. I knew we were creating a habitat for small animals, but we may have created a perfect setting for a coyote den. If so, I will have to lay about with chain saw and shovel to remove the coyote welcome mat.

These cunning "singing dogs" need to move out of our immediate neighborhood because we have already noticed a significant reduction in the chipmunk and rabbit population and one of our neighbors has lost a couple of her cats. We don’t have any cats to spare, so the coyotes will soon be history, at least around here.

Keep an eye out for them as they are moving into heavily settled areas now. Earlier this year, a coyote was captured in Central Park on the island of Manhattan. Your neighborhood may be next.

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0 Responses to Country living is a continuing adventure

  1. Mary Beth says:

    Beautifully written, David, as well as giving me a dark chill. You may recall (from my former blog) that we suffered the terrible loss of Whitney, a young black lab pup, to a roving band of coyotes when we were living near Asheville, NC. We did not know they had moved into the ridgetop above our home. I’m not an alarmist,and respect the coyotes as fellow creatures, but as human and wild animal habitats overlap and the coyotes learn that pets make easy dinner, then our dogs, cats and other small creatures become quite vulnerable.

  2. so says:

    In metro Atlanta, we recently lost a cat. Our guess is coyotes got him. Though we do not hear them, they are in the area. In fact, GA Wildlife says that coyotes can be found within every county of GA – remote and densely populated.

    Good luck in your efforts to move them from your area.

  3. I once heard about a coyote that lived in a car park in Las Vegas and survived off discarded donuts so they can live in urban areas. Foxes are prevalent in Australia and an introduced pest. They were meant to control rabbits but didn’t do that well.

  4. Linda says:

    You observations resonate, David. We live just outside city limits here in CO. With the foothills and a county-maintained open space only a few miles away, we often hear coyotes in the evening, and have even heard a mountian lion on one or two occasions. It’s only prudent to keep the cat indoors.

    Yet, I don’t mind it, really. I like having nature that close to my back door.

    I hope the coyote problem in your neck of the woods takes care of itself. If it doesn’t, and you have such a resource, perhaps your county’s Animal Control could provide assistance.

    Take care,

  5. Jim says:

    I would not worry about the coyotes as they are just a natural predator doing what is needed and that is keeping populations of other critters (rabbits, etc.) in balance. Your brush pile will attract and protect many more rabbits than coyotes, so keep that in perspective.

    If the coyotes keep you from sleeping and harrass all forms of pets, then consider doing a little hunting. It is much more exciting than marketing:)

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