Friday, February 06, 2009

Yips and Howls

Coyotes are vocal animals, and never more so than this time of year. It's their mating season, and at night the canyons and valleys echo with their yips, barks, howls and yelps.

Howling appears to serve a variety of purposes for coyotoes. A pack of coyotes will howl to inform other coyotes of their territorial boundaries, thus minimizing the risks of fighting.

At this time of year, a male coyote howls to let other males know to stay away, while inviting females into his territory.

You can hear coyotes on nearly any Nature Conservancy preserve in Idaho, and for that matter, nearly any open space with a little cover. They're incredibly adaptable animals and have actually increased their range as the North American continent was developed.

They thrive close to humanity--I hear them frequently along the Boise River Greenbelt--but they are most active at night to avoid people. Let's keep it that way. Feeding coyotes and acclimating them to humans only leads to trouble, as evidenced by recent coyote attacks on humans in Colorado and California.

So listen from afar, and enjoy the winter chorus of one of our most vocal animals. --Matt Miller

Photo by photo by Christopher Bruno on Wikipedia -published under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license versions 2.5

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