Monday, January 27, 2014

Wil E. Returns

The Coyotes at one of my study sites grew sparse after some heavy ATV use began in the summer.

However, the snow seems to have curtailed the ATV activity, which gave the canines a chance to sneak back onto the site.  In fact, the beginning of the calendar year seemed to really bring out the 'yotes....

Although glimpses of them were as fleeting as you might expect at first....
The 'yote is in the far background in this picture, partially obscured by a dead branch

They also appeared to be appropriately skittish.  The IR flash of the camera caused this individual to turn-tail and run.  This is a response to IR cameras that I've observed from Coyotes several times in the past (see here , here and here).

Skittishness is probably one of their greatest survival mechanisms.  It might even be a reason why (despite the best efforts of humanity) the Coyote has avoided eradication throughout recent history.

Yet, sometimes, skittishness is over-powered by the desire to check out what the neihbors are up to.

This individual (on January 10th, perhaps the same one from the 5th and the 9th?) is very interested in the canine urine we deposited in front of the camera. 

Considering we are in the general time period of the breeding season, it's not too surprising to see the canines doing some territorial investigations.

I imagine "curiosity" treats the canine, much like it does the cat .....if said canines don't learn quickly.  Canine urine is a common tool in the trapper's toolkit.

Another quick capture on January 15th....

I've also seen a large number of tracks and trails throughout the site since the first of the year.  One of my research students even found an interesting trail in the snow two weeks ago.  It appeared to tell a story of ol' Wil E. catching a Cottontail (complete with blood and tufts of rabbit fur).  I'm pretty happy to see them return after their long absence this summer and very sparse appearances in the fall.

I can't imagine our resident forest ghost is particularly thrilled (seeing that Coyotes will exclude Red Fox)...but it hasn't scared him/her off completely. 

Although he does appear a bit more on-edge than before....

1 comment:

  1. Skittish for sure. I rarely get more than one pic a coyote or the second one is it vacating the area.