Thursday, December 8, 2016

Coyote, Deer Neighborhood Sightings

The Laurelhurst Blog has received reports and pictures about sightings of deer, coyote and rabbits. 

Here are some of the sightings and comments reported:

I thought I saw a smallish and skittish coyote around midnight on my way home through the Center for Urban Horticulture recently.  And there also have been plenty of rabbits.
So wonderful to have the urban wildlife.  For sure the rabbit population will benefit from the absence of three coyotes killed this summer. More food for the eagles.  
The deer and all the bunnies take one look at the state of the Talaris site and think it's the wild, hence they will roam towards it. 
Let's hope someone doesn't decide the deer is a threat to landscaping or something and have it "offed" in the dark of night by the Department of Agriculture.

This coyote (pictured above) recently watched us, as we looked at him from our windows, for at least a full 15 minutes recently one afternoon around 2pm.  The fence in front of him is a small enclosed area for our tiny 10 pound dog.  This is my first coyote sighting ever and just steps from our back patio.  Is it usual for coyotes to be out in the middle of the day and appearing to be unafraid of humans? Was he waiting for our dog to come out for his noontime snack? Or perhaps he prefers the numerous squirrels who like to play back there or even just a crow? Or could he have been rabid?  I prefer to think of coyotes hunting rats while we sleep in areas like the wooded portion of the Villa property or the Center for Urban Horticulture wetlands or Talaris. I have warned my immediate neighbors but I wanted to make a slightly broader neighbor warning to be vigilant and watch your pets closely as I could never predicted what we saw today.  He nearly drove the crows insane before turning and running into the bushes towards a neighbor's house and the Beach Club.

I saw a coyote in Laurelhurst Park on November 3oth. It seemed to be very curious about humans, but still somewhat fearful. It ran away from me and my dog and then stopped and looked back at us.

I saw a coyote that ran quickly across the entrance to the Park right in front of my car recently in the evening. He was small and very healthy looking.

I saw a coyote running down the sidewalk on NE 42nd Street.  Best to keep pets inside. 

Several coyotes killed our cat about two months ago. We are aware that there is a pack that lives in Villa' Academy's green belt. Be extra vigilant with your small pets.

Anyone encountering a coyote or others will help them by trying to scare them aware so that they don't get habituated and don't become afraid of people.

As I was driving past Talaris, I saw three full size coyotes running in a pack away from my headlights. 
Seems we have some new neighbors:  a fox family, and a doe and her fawn, in addition to the buck that moved into the Urban Horticulture area.  Let's all be aware that we share the roads with the people, pets, and wildlife in our neighborhood and slow down.


A few days ago I saw this deer in my yard. He stayed for a few minutes and then jumped the fence toward Yesler Creek area. Looks like a young buck.

We saw a young deer walking along on the sidewalk in front of the Horticulture Center.

Deer and coyotes pictures taken by neighbors:  

Neighbors also sent comments regarding coexisting with the various animals:

City of Seattle is not a healthy environment for deer. While it's wonderful to see wildlife in your won backyard, things probably won't end well for the poor animals as this is not a natural habitat for them and there are so many hazards they don't know how to deal with. 

The potentially dangerous urban coyotes are those that boldly show themselves in plain sight during daytime hours, like the ones reported in the neighborhood.
They are the ones most likely to attack pets, small children (1-year-old, a 4-year-old bitten by coyotes in separate incidents in the Eastgate area of Bellevue and even adult humans.  Coyotes can easily get into most fenced yards to attack pets and children, so beware of leaving yours unattended.  One study reported about a dozen coyote attacks [on humans] occurred each year between 1985 and 2006.  

One neighbor offered information his is from the "Urban Coyotes" page on Portland's Audubon website:
"Coyotes and Humans

Unless habituated to humans, coyotes are generally shy and wary and present a minimal risk to humans.

There has only been one human death attributed to coyote predation in the United States. This occurred in California in the 1970s when a coyote that had been deliberately habituated to human handouts preyed upon his human feeder's three-year-old child.

Those incidents that have occurred nationwide most often fall into the category of nips, bites and scratches rather than predatory attacks and almost always follow situations in which the coyote has been deliberately habituated to human handouts."

If people are smart about not providing food to coyotes, not letting small pets out unattended (many reasons why people shouldn't do this anyway...), or engaging with the coyotes as more than distant observers, there likely won't be an issue. But just one neighbor feeding a coyote can create a monster, so the more we can all learn to adapt, the better. Removing coyotes only opens up space for more to move in, and they will.

A curious coyote roaming in the daylight is not unusual.. They search out opportunities at all hours. They are no danger to people unless they're rabid, which is very unusual. They will run if confronted. Small dogs are on their menu, but they are more likely to go after small game such as squirrels and rats, they love to gooble up rats. If you leave dog food out, they will come by to help themselves. On occasion a coyote will become too acclimated to our environment and abandon their natural hunting in favor of feeding on our garbage and pets. When this happens animal control has to remove them. Most of the time they're just passing through and making some noise and assuming an aggressive posture will encourage them on their way. If they want to hang around a little while and eat some rats, I'll cut them some slack.

Here is information the Laurelhurst Blog has posted about living with urban coyotes.

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