Plenty of coyote activity in the Ranchos
While getting ready for bed the other night, I heard an odd squeak in the backyard and asked my husband if he heard it, too. Our dog was on the other side of the room, and it was clear the sound didn’t come from him. I went to the back door, flipped on the light, and saw two pairs of glowing eyes shining toward me from the top of the berm.
A couple of juvenile coyotes dashed along the berm’s path as I caught a glimpse of an adult coyote in my neighbor’s yard on the other side of the fence. The adult quickly moved into the shadows and made another yipping sound to guide the errant juveniles back to safety.
The coyotes’ proximity to our house gives me pause, and neither the dog nor I slept very well that night. The next evening, about an hour after dark, my son heard a rustling in the bushes outside his bedroom window. On went the outside light and we discovered the reason behind these repeated visits: the coyotes were drawn to the fallen peaches scattered over the grass in the backyard. A large coyote hovered near the tree and darted away only after the light came on.
I thought coyotes were carnivores, but it turns out they are omnivores. In addition to small prey such as rodents, lizards, snakes, and rabbits, they’ll eat fruits, grass, flowers, and other plants. Sometimes they work together to take down larger prey, including domesticated dogs and cats.
Coyote activity is high right now. Last week while out on an early evening walk, one bolted across the front yard of a neighbor’s house and took off down an adjacent greenbelt. On Monday morning, an adult coyote lay along the side of Drayton Road after apparently being hit by a car (thank you to whomever hauled the carcass away). I haven’t seen any more coyotes in our yard since they cleaned out the fallen peaches, but a couple of nights in a row we’ve heard sirens in the distance, which compels them to call to one another in eerie, haunting tones. Their cries make them sound as if they’re right outside our back door. Knowing they are lingering nearby in the darkness makes my heart race every time I hear them.
Should you ever cross paths with a coyote, try one or more of the following “hazing” techniques to discourage it from getting too comfortable around humans:
Wave your arms and yell in the direction of the coyote. Stomp your feet.
Use noisemakers (pennies in a can, loud whistling, air horns, bells, bang pots and pans, etc.).
Spray water from a hose, use pepper spray, or bear repellent.
Throw projectiles such as tennis balls or sticks toward, but not at, the coyote.
Continue with these techniques until the coyote completely leaves the area. If the animal is used to humans, this may take a while.
Remember to keep pets on a leash and in a secure area while outdoors. For safety, pets should be fed indoors and their food stored securely indoors, as well.
Perseid meteor peak
August marks the annual anniversary of the Perseid meteor shower. Although it peaked during the early morning hours of Aug. 12, there’s still plenty of opportunity to spot some nighttime sky magic as Earth continues to cross through Comet Swift-Tuttle’s orbital path.
The moon is in a waning phase and scheduled to rise just after 1:30 a.m. tonight. Consider timing meteor-seeking accordingly to avoid the moon glow and its impact on visibility. Find a dark area and give your eyes time to adjust. Soften your gaze toward the northern sky and keep your fingers crossed. Good luck!
Amy Roby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.