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Well before sunrise, the first chirp erupted. Within minutes, the howling grew in volume. Not us this time. The coyote sings!
A pack of coyote lives in a wooded ravine just below our house. Coyotes typically only den for a couple of months every year, from the time pups are born in late March / early April until the pups are weaned in June. Once weaned, the pack sleeps in the woods for the rest of the year. The pack consists of the current year puppies, the parents, and a couple of other adults. The extra adults are usually younger adults who have not yet ventured off to form their own packs.
This time of year, coyote puppies are learning their hunting skills on very small prey (grasshoppers, insects, etc.). The pups stay hidden in the brush at the edge of fields while the adults venture into the open for the larger prey. Our field is fertile hunting ground with all of the rabbits. Parents remain close to the pups to protect them. The pack communicates with a series of chirps and howls. The singing also helps mark their territory, so they can be quite loud.
This singing and chirping is our story today.
At 5 a.m. Saturday morning, Hu-Dad was awakened to the sound of the coyote pack in our lower field. The chirping and singing was especially loud since they were close to the house. As we have mentioned before, we sleep inside at night – partially because of all of the wildlife in our area. So the coyote pack hunts our field at night, and we reclaim it in the morning. We were awake and listening to them with the Hu-Dad, but never spoke back to them (they speak coyote and we speak Siberian Husky).
At 6 a.m., however, Hu-Dad released us to our field (after carefully scanning it for prey and predator). Our reaction yesterday was classic – we raced to the center of the yard, gathered as a pack, and sang the song of our people. Basically, the song goes, “We are here. This is our field. So there.” The coyotes chirped back to us as they disappeared deep into the woods to sleep through the day. For the next several weeks, we will claim the field during the day, and they will hunt in it at night. (Well, unless the bobcat claims it. She always wins hunting rights).
In case you ask, we have seen the coyotes several time, including one youngster a couple of years ago who used to stretch out in the field and watch us play.
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