A Close Encounter With a Coyote

Often maligned by governments and farmers, coyotes serve a valuable purpose in nature.

Reflecting on the Coyote’s Role in Nature

One evening, I was driving down Mountain Road east of Erickson, Manitoba, when I noticed a lot of ravens and magpies flying over the same spot in a ditch. I slowed down as I am always on the lookout for wildlife. My camera is an extension of my arm, so I always have it at the ready.

As I drove by, I couldn’t see anything, so I began to drive on when something caught the corner of my eye. I backed up and there was a coyote in the ditch, eating road kill. He blended in so well that I almost missed him.

There was no way he was leaving his supper, thus I was able to get some very good shots. He moved away just a couple of feet, and then looked me straight in the eye and waited until I had my fill of taking his photo. As I returned to the car, I could see him resuming his meal.

Coyotes are very interesting animals with the ability to adapt to their surroundings. We see them quite often here on the farm, as they will follow the tractor at haying time. They have learned that as the hay is being cut, the mice and gophers run out, and they are quick to snap them up. You can tell whether it is a male or female following the tractor, as the young males tend to gobble down the rodents, while the female hangs onto her catch, and takes it back to feed her pups in a den somewhere.

I set up a trail camera last summer outside a coyote den, and captured about 200 pics of four pups playing and fighting with each other. So cute! The only time they stopped was when their mother or dad showed up with some food for them.

Most nights, the coyotes serenade us from every direction in the countryside, often inducing our two dogs to join in!

Taking photos of wildlife and sharing the pics is one way for me to show people how lucky we are to have other species on the planet with us. The coyotes are quite often maligned by governments, farmers and others, but they have an important role to play in our natural world.

Next, don’t miss this amazing wildlife photography from Rattray Marsh Conservation Area.

Originally Published in Our Canada