January 18, 2024  •  1 Comment


Coyote - 7 Photos


Had heard the rallying cry of a coyote upon arrival so I knew the coyotes were nearby. This area has a resident family comprised of what I believe to be three youngsters, one much older sibling (probably female) & the two elders (male & female), six in total. (I have seen all six in a tight grouping twice now.)


Having walked into an area where I have had success in the past finding them, I was surprised to see all three of the smaller siblings already half way up one side of a hill, relaxing & napping in the morning sun. Photo #1 is a shot of the three sleeping on a hill. One fact is certain, coyotes are extremely fleet of foot. These often hunt together with the two smallest often paired.


So I found a relatively comfortable log to sit and watch the coyotes from across the meadow. It is amazing what one can learn by just observing & of course, hoping at least one would venture down into the meadow for some potential camera shots.


Probably an hour had passed and then from one end of a footpath, came a young woman with her rather rotund chihuahua initially on a lead. Once she reached the meadow, she removed the leash & proceeded to play chase with her dog, with the little chihuahua running very large circles at great speed around her and making headway into the open meadow. Even to me, this little dog had all the appearance of a rabbit skirting the snow.


I was somewhat annoyed as Alberta Provincial Parks require dogs to be leashed at all times but as I was sitting across a creek from the path, thought no more of it. So I returned my attention to the coyotes. Much to my surprise, all three were no longer napping & lying flat out but instead, were sitting up, alert & looking directly towards the unleashed dog. And then as I scoped the ridge, I saw a fourth coyote coming out of a thicket and heading directly down the hill and quickly approaching the meadow. This was most likely the older sibling (by at least one year), female and frequently acts as leader for the other three. If she made it to the flat area, she would have been no more than 50 metres behind the dog. I have named this much larger & older coyote, "Big Sis".


And as the woman approached from the other side of the creek with her unleashed dog, I called out to her & politely suggested that she leash her dog but before I could get any further words out, she was most apologetic & put the little one back on its lead. My response, "It's not me I'm worried about. There are three coyotes up on that hill taking great interest in your unleashed pet and one is coming in from behind your dog."


Now for one of the most fascinating events I have seen and I have not exaggerated the coyotes' responses, in any way. Immediately, that dog was leashed, the three coyotes resumed their reclining positions & proceeded to relax. And as for "Big Sis", well she stopped her approach and took up a sitting position halfway down the hill, still watching but not with the intenseness she had previously demonstrated.


I pointed out all the coyotes to the young woman. Am not certain she could make out the grouping of three but she definitely could see "Big Sis" not far away. She thanked me, apologized again & headed back to the main park.


And not another 20 minutes later, another dog walker appeared on the same footpath with a Yorkshire Terrier on a leash but with the leash left to drag on the ground. Periodically, the owner would step on the slack to "leash" the dog. Same scenario, the three sat up and "Big Sis" changed her line of sight back to the path and the dog. Again, as the gentleman walked past, I pointed out the four coyotes. He looked, brought the dog to his side and then began to recount other wildlife sightings he had had in the park that morning (amazing what some people will say). Fortunately, he quickly exited with the dog safely, back to the more travelled route.


Once again, the three went back to sleep & Big Sis, determining there was nothing much of interest, headed back up the hill. Eventually she left with two of the three, moving along the ridge. And yes, after over 2 hours, one coyote headed into the meadow where I managed to capture this youngster with the camera (Photo #2 through Photo #6)


To happen once, might have been a coincidence but to happen twice - a lesson to remember for all "visitors" to parks where dogs are required to be on leash. It is not only for your safety but your dog's as well (and for other people too). This coyote family seemingly knew to avoid dog walkers with leashed dogs. Dogs off leash, particularly acting like prey might be fair game. If you truly love your dog, please keep it leashed where stipulated. We are after all only visitors to Provincial Parks. For wildlife, this is their home.


I have included the one photo I have managed to catch of Big Sis, at the end of December. She was coming up one side of a small hill & I was coming from the other side, on the diagonal, when she appeared briefly above me. Before I could think "coyote", she trotted down the hill away from me and across a creek. But before she made her way into the woods and disappeared, she turned and paused for that one moment that enabled me to snap one shot. And she is a true beauty, much larger than the other three, bulkier and for the moment, it appears, without any scarring (Photo #7).











Wonderful photos again!
I couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of the relaxing coyotes on the photo #1.
Number three coyote looks so sleepy :)
Fantastic series and interesting observations.
Too bad people who think dogs could be off leash in the provincial park won't have a chance to read this blog.
Have a great weekend!
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