Songs my Mother taught me

Posted by on Mar 28, 2013 in Blog, Coyote's Social Life | 0 comments

photo by Jerry Mercier

Songs my Mother taught me by Anton Dvorsak

 I am attaching a link here with this beautiful, stirring gypsy music of this great composer

Note: the language on the screen is very different…it is not English

But we all understand the Music

Coyote parents teach their tiny pups to make music also

Their language is different from ours….

But can we learn to understand their music?

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Coyote Parenthood

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Blog, Coyote's Social Life | 0 comments

Coyote pup by Jan Myers

I’m a Coyote Pup….I’m lucky because I have very caring protective parents.

So Spring has arrived….and how we welcome it here in Maine. It is the time of rebirth and new birth…the time when tiny coyote pups are born.

So when you are out in nature be aware of this special time for them…..especially if you are taking your dog for a walk. When domestic dogs get too close to the Coyote’s den site, the coyote parents will protect their little ones at any cost to themselves.

I’m attaching a link here to show you the behavior of two coyote parents who are trying to keep a domestic dog from coming any closer to their den.  Note the dog’s aggressive behavior, and the controlled behavior of the coyote parents.


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A Special Time for Coyote ~ Mating Season

Posted by on Jan 27, 2013 in Blog, Coyote's Social Life | 0 comments

by Ellison Photography

As we bundle up in the throws of a cold Winter, Coyotes on the other hand are becoming more active and verbal….and why? It is MATING SEASON! It is a short and intensive time for two coyote mates to prepare for their new family, as the alpha female is only fertile for a short three week period of time in a year….and that time takes place in January or February.  Even if there are other females in the family capable of becoming pregnant, the ALPHA FEMALE is the only one that does….Coyotes practice serious birth control.


And so you may hear them communicating with each other very frequently now, as they wish to stay in close contact with each other….and they are also celebrating the new life they are creating! So rejoice with them.

This is also a time of the year when other members of the coyote family decide what they are going to do with their lives…those who were born last year may decide to remain with the family for a few years and become the “Aunts” and “Uncles” of the new pups….assisting the alpha mates in the care of the little ones ….a daunting and busy responsibility.  Another member of the family may take this time to leave the family and disperse….searching for a territory and a mate of their own.

So LISTEN….ENJOY THE TRACKS YOU SEE….and know that in the quietude of Winter here in Maine we are priveleged to have this NEW LIFE manifesting itself witin the warm body of a female coyote…we are priveleged to await the birth of this amazing American wild dog….and as the Navajos spoke…GOD’S DOG.

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Vulnerability of Wild Newborns

Posted by on Jun 5, 2012 in Blog, Coyote's Social Life | 0 comments

Coyote pups photo by Dan Harrison

For the past few weeks, every time I leave my house, a mother Robin quickly flies out from a medium size evergreen tree near my door. If she is not in the nest, she is chirping to me where she stands on the lawn, expressing her anxiety over my presence.

Today it is June 4, a day following two days of pouring down rain and wind, with cold temperatures for this time of the year. As I walked out my door, I saw no sign of the mother Robin. I became concerned, and so I looked for her hidden nest to see if her chicks were still there. And what I found saddened me ~ four perfect little chicks, mature enough to have their flying feathers, all lying together…still. They had all died and were curled up in the perfect nest made for them, all four tucked into each other’s bodies. The harsh weather had taken their young lives.
As the rain came pouring down these past two to three days, and the wind relentlessly whipped through the trees, we humans have our boxed shelters  and heated spaces to protect us. But all the newborn wildlife  were vulnerable to this kind of weather, so early in their lives.
And like these little Robin chicks that never had a chance to take flight, the snuggling coyote pups you see in the photo above, taken by Dr. Dan Harrison while doing research in Acadia National Park, have a 30% chance to live to their first year. The life of newborn coyotes is very tenuous, as they are exposed to very inclement weather, relentless biting fleas and ticks…all of which can kill them because of the pups young age. Diseases like parvovirus are  right around the corner.  Once they leave the safety of the den they are exposed to numerous predators, including those in the sky. 
Coyote pups most powerful defense other than their own immune system, is the protection and care by their parents. So if one or both of their parents are killed by humans during this vulnerable time of their life….they, like the small Robin chicks, will die.
It would follow then, that it shouldbe illegal to kill Coyotes during this important time of their life….April to September. Then WHY is it still legal to do so here in Maine?
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Creating positive relationships with Coyotes

Posted by on Jun 3, 2012 in Blog, Coyote's Social Life | 0 comments

photo by John Tangney

Take a look at this photo. Do wildlife share relationships with those who are not of their species? So what is happening here…wouldn’t you like to know!

Intellgent, social beings of diverse species on this planet are capable of positve and life enhancing relationships. But somehow wildlife also know where the edge of those relationships exists. Coyotes are immensely capable of these realtionships with us ~  relationships of respect, of coexistence, of awareness, of curiousity, but also relationships of  understanding their separateness from us.
Last time I wrote about how our behavior affects coyotes in negatives ways, thus breaking down the rich possible relationships we might have with them. In order to give a broader example, I spoke of the elephant society in Africa, and what humans have done to destroy their complex social structure, and thus change their behavior toward humans. Today I want  again to share a story about these same elephants, but a much different one. It is of a man who by his actions created a most powerful relationship with the elephants, and thus changed their behavior in a most dramatic way. Here is the story.

Author and legendary conservationist Lawrence Anthony died March 7 of this year. His family tells of a solemn procession on March 10 that defies human explanation.

 For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives. The formerly violent, rogue elephants, destined to be shot a few years ago as pests, were rescued and rehabilitated by Anthony, who had grown up in the bush and was known as the “Elephant Whisperer.”

For two days the herds loitered at Anthony’s rural compound on the vast Thula Thula game reserve in the South African KwaZulu – to say good-bye to the man they loved. But how did they know he had died March 7? Known for his unique ability to calm traumatized elephants, Anthony had become a legend. He is the author of three books, Babylon Ark, detailing his efforts to rescue the animals at Baghdad Zoo during the Iraqi war, the forthcoming The Last Rhinos, and his bestselling The Elephant Whisperer.

There are two elephant herds at Thula Thula. According to his son Dylan, both arrived at the Anthony family compound shortly after Anthony’s death.“They had not visited the house for a year and a half and it must have taken them about 12 hours to make the journey,” Dylan is quoted in various local news accounts. “The first herd arrived on Sunday and the second herd, a day later. They all hung around for about two days before making their way back into the bush.” Elephants have long been known to mourn their dead. In India, baby elephants often are raised with a boy who will be their lifelong “mahout.” The pair develop legendary bonds – and it is not uncommon for one to waste away without a will to live after the death of the other.

But these are wild elephants in the 21st century, not some Rudyard Kipling novel. The first herd to arrive at Thula Thula several years ago were violent. They hated humans. Anthony found himself fighting a desperate battle for their survival and their trust, which he detailed in The Elephant Whisperer:“It was 4:45 a.m. and I was standing in front of Nana, an enraged wild elephant, pleading with her in desperation. Both our lives depended on it. The only thing separating us was an 8,000-volt electric fence that she was preparing to flatten and make her escape.“Nana, the matriarch of her herd, tensed her enormous frame and flared her ears.“’Don’t do it, Nana,’ I said, as calmly as I could. She stood there, motionless but tense. The rest of the herd froze.“’This is your home now,’ I continued. ‘Please don’t do it, girl.’ I felt her eyes boring into me.  ’They’ll kill you all if you break out. This is your home now. You have no need to run anymore.’“Suddenly, the absurdity of the situation struck me,” Anthony writes. “Here I was in pitch darkness, talking to a wild female elephant with a baby, the most dangerous possible combination, as if we were having a friendly chat. But I meant every word. ‘You will all die if you go. Stay here. I will be here with you and it’s a good place.’“She took another step forward. I could see her tense up again, preparing to snap the electric wire and be out, the rest of the herd smashing after her in a flash.“I was in their path, and would only have seconds to scramble out of their way and climb the nearest tree. I wondered if I would be fast enough to avoid being trampled. Possibly not. Then something happened between Nana and me, some tiny spark of recognition, flaring for the briefest of moments. Then it was gone. Nana turned and melted into the bush. The rest of the herd followed. I couldn’t explain what had happened between us, but it gave me the first glimmer of hope since the elephants had first thundered into my life.”

It had all started several weeks earlier with a phone call from an elephant welfare organization. Would Anthony be interested in adopting a problem herd of wild elephants? They lived on a game reserve 600 miles away and were “troublesome,” recalled Anthony.“They had a tendency to break out of reserves and the owners wanted to get rid of them fast. If we didn’t take them, they would be shot.“The woman explained, ‘The matriarch is an amazing escape artist and has worked out how to break through electric fences. She just twists the wire around her tusks until it snaps, or takes the pain and smashes through.’“’Why me?’ I asked.“’I’ve heard you have a way with animals. You’re right for them. Or maybe they’re right for you.’”What followed was heart-breaking. One of the females and her baby were shot and killed in the round-up, trying to evade capture.

 The French version of “The Elephant Whisperer”“When they arrived, they were thumping the inside of the trailer like a gigantic drum. We sedated them with a pole-sized syringe, and once they had calmed down, the door slid open and the matriarch emerged, followed by her baby bull, three females and an 11-year-old bull.”Last off was the 15-year-old son of the dead mother. “He stared at us,” writes Anthony, “flared his ears and with a trumpet of rage, charged, pulling up just short of the fence in front of us.“His mother and baby sister had been shot before his eyes, and here he was, just a teenager, defending his herd. David, my head ranger, named him Mnumzane, which in Zulu means ‘Sir.’ We christened the matriarch Nana, and the second female-in-command, the most feisty, Frankie, after my wife.“We had erected a giant enclosure within the reserve to keep them safe until they became calm enough to move out into the reserve proper.“ Nana gathered her clan, loped up to the fence and stretched out her trunk, touching the electric wires. The 8,000-volt charge sent a jolt shuddering through her bulk. She backed off. Then, with her family in tow, she strode the entire perimeter of the enclosure, pointing her trunk at the wire to check for vibrations from the electric current.

“As I went to bed that night, I noticed the elephants lining up along the fence, facing out towards their former home. It looked ominous. I was woken several hours later by one of the reserve’s rangers, shouting, ‘The elephants have gone! They’ve broken out!’ The two adult elephants had worked as a team to fell a tree, smashing it onto the electric fence and then charging out of the enclosure. “I scrambled together a search party and we raced to the border of the game reserve, but we were too late. The fence was down and the animals had broken out. “They had somehow found the generator that powered the electric fence around the reserve. After trampling it like a tin can, they had pulled the concrete-embedded fence posts out of the ground like matchsticks, and headed north.”The reserve staff chased them – but had competition. “We met a group of locals carrying large caliber rifles, who claimed the elephants were ‘fair game’ now. On our radios we heard the wildlife authorities were issuing elephant rifles to staff. It was now a simple race against time.” Anthony managed to get the herd back onto Thula Thula property, but problems had just begun:

“Their bid for freedom had, if anything, increased their resentment at being kept in captivity. Nana watched my every move, hostility seeping from every pore, her family behind her. There was no doubt that sooner or later they were going to make another break for freedom. “Then, in a flash, came the answer. I would live with the herd. To save their lives, I would stay with them, feed them, talk to them. But, most importantly, be with them day and night. We all had to get to know each other.” It worked, as the book describes in detail, notes the London Daily Mail newspaper.
Anthony was later offered another troubled elephant – one that was all alone because the rest of her herd had been shot or sold, and which feared humans. He had to start the process all over again. And as his reputation spread, more “troublesome” elephants were brought to Thula Thula.

How did the reserve’s elephants — grazing miles away in distant parts of the park — know?
“A good man died suddenly,” says Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, Ph.D., “and from miles and miles away, two herds of elephants, sensing that they had lost a beloved human friend, moved in a solemn, almost ‘funereal’ procession to make a call on the bereaved family at the deceased man’s home.”

“If there ever were a time, when we can truly sense the wondrous ‘interconnectedness of all beings,’ it is when we reflect on the elephants of Thula Thula. A man’s heart stops, and hundreds of elephants’ hearts are grieving. This man’s oh-so-abundantly loving heart offered healing to these elephants, and now, they came to pay loving homage to their friend.” written by Rob Kerby

And so Coyote…


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How Human behavior affects Coyotes

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Blog, Coyote's Social Life | 0 comments

photo by Janet Tangney

What happens when these two Coyote parents leave their pups safely behind, in order to go hunting for food for them…and the parents  never come back?  They never come back because they have been killed by individuals who have no understanding of the value of this important carnivore, and the laws in Maine give coyote NO protection from these violent individuals.

Several people in Maine have contacted me, and shared with me that they have observed small coyote pups wandering around by themselves.  What will happen to them? Either they will die slowly of starvation, or be preyed upon by free roaming dogs or other wldlife, OR, if they are survivors, they will live.
But without having the opportunity to learn adequately from their parents on how to be a healthy, socially competent coyote, and also possibly seeing their parents being killed in front of their eyes as they hid, these young coyotes may end up acting very differently in their relationship to us. So it is so important to understand that intelligent, social wildlife like coyotes are greatly affected by the dysfunction we create in their world through violent human behavior.
So to broaden your view, let me share with you a poingnant example that researchers have observed in another intelligent and social wild animal…the Elephant. Elephants in Africa have endured decades of habitat loss and poaching, along with systematic killing and translocation of herds. Baby elephants see their mothers shot and killed in front of their eyes….and refusing to leave her dead body. During the reign of Amin in Uganda, fighters would throw hand gernades at them and kill an entire herd.
“This highly unethical treatment by humans has completely frayed the fabric of Elelphant society, disrupting the web of familial and societal relations by which young elephants are raised and established herds are governed. The number of older matriarchs and female caregivers has drastically fallen, as has the number of elder bulls, who play a significant role in keeping the younger males in line.”  quote from Charles Siebert in Wachula Woods Accord
As a result of this cruel human behavior Dr. Bradshaw has observed what is perhaps  the first ever documented instance of another species cultural collapse, societal breakdown and dysfunction. With their complex social lives disrupted and in chaos, researchers are observing never before seen behavior of elephants toward humans. Outright violence to humans, and purposeful destruction of their vegetable growing fields is a blatant sign of the dysfunction humans have caused in these intellegant beings.
And so we come back to America, and to Coyote.  So in our cruel and dystfunctional behavior to this socially complex and intelligent canine, how can we expect them to carry on in the same behaviors they pacticed before the first Europeans set foot on this continent.  How do we as a society allow these human behaviors and lack of protection to continue? Our silence allows it to continue. Let us speak up!
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