[CT Birds] Non-bird Wildlife

Kathy Van Der Aue kvda at optonline.net
Tue Aug 2 22:20:15 EDT 2011


A great argument for the "Keep Your Cat Indoors" campaign.

Kathy Van Der Aue, Southport, CT
kvda at optonline.net

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sarah Faulkner" <sffaulkner at comcast.net>
To: "Jan Hollerbach" <smilifase at gmail.com>; "CT Ornithological Association 
COA" <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2011 9:55 PM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Non-bird Wildlife


> It's nice to hear about other wildlife, too, Jan!  Thanks for the story. 
> There was a coyote that gave me a good staring just around the corner from 
> my house a few years ago -- a huge animal, thick coat, broad muzzle --  
> looked for all the world like a full wolf.  It crossed in front of my car 
> and I stopped to get a good look, and it stopped and stared back at me 
> through the open window -- and I felt the hair rise on the back of my neck 
> and wished the window was closed.  One of the few times I've felt like 
> prey.
>
> Biologists have recently reclassified our Eastern Coyote as a separate 
> subspecies, because they clearly are evolving into a more wolf-like 
> creature, filling the empty niche for a top canid in the northeast. 
> There's debate about how many of them have any of the wolf blood/DNA, vs. 
> natural selection choosing those with the best genes to survive our 
> climate/snow/food sources, but there are a number of characteristics that 
> are showing up in our northeastern coyotes that were not present 20 years 
> ago: larger overall body size; thicker, stronger legs; shorter, broader 
> and stronger muzzle; shorter and broader ears; and -- and this is a little 
> controversial -- a bushier tail that some are holding upright.  It used to 
> be that you could tell a coyote from a wolf simply by the way it held its 
> tail.  Wolves run with their tails up, while coyotes run with their tails 
> down.  Apparently this is no longer the case.  Also, coyotes did not in 
> the past hunt in a structured pack with an alpha pair as wolves do.  This 
> meant that coyotes couldn't hunt deer, which requires coordination and a 
> hierarchy.  Recent data in Connecticut indicates that the social structure 
> true of wolves has been observed in at least one family group of coyotes., 
> and they've been filmed hunting deer.  Fascinating, no?
>
> I had an interesting but yucky wildlife experience on Sunday morning.  I 
> went out to get my newspaper, ready to sit in my garden, drink my coffee, 
> and enjoy the early morning birds and coolness, when I found something 
> gross on the front lawn: an animal's stomach and a length of intestines. 
> Both were sizeable, and so I put on my best biology detective hat: final 
> analysis showed there had been a kill on my front lawn only a few hours 
> earlier, and my neighbor was missing her cat whose fur matched the pieces 
> in the grass. I'm thinking the predator was a bobcat, since the kill scene 
> was pretty clean, with only the stomach and piece of intestines (plus 
> bloody grass) to show anything had happened.  Coyotes usually make more of 
> a mess, and owls usually take the whole prey away.  Whatever it was took 
> the time to disembowel the prey before running off with it. 
> Cool/gross/scary to know that a sizeable predator took down a 14 lb 
> housecat on my front lawn just before dawn...  in little Collinsville! 
> (And, with apologies to the cat lovers amongst us, I was not overly upset 
> at this, since that cat had been hunting my songbirds!!! Justice in the 
> animal kingdom!!!)
>
> Sarah Faulkner
>
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Jan Hollerbach" <smilifase at gmail.com>
> To: "CT Ornithological Association COA" <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2011 8:44 PM
> Subject: [CT Birds] Non-bird Wildlife
>
>
>> Got home from work and went to clean/refill bird baths when I saw 
>> movement in the "wilderness" section of my yard. Usually it's a deer, and 
>> at first glance I thought it was a small deer. But then it stopped. And I 
>> stopped. And it was a coyote!
>>
>> Now, having grown up in CA, I'm used to the raggedy slinky "Wiley Coyote" 
>> types.  Kinda like a guy in a bar trying to pick you up wearing a 
>> "leisure suit".   This was not that guy!  I remember the discussion about 
>> Coyote X Wolf, and this looked more like that possibility. This Coyote 
>> was bigger, less dissheveled looking and did seem to have a good-sized 
>> head. He was pretty intimidating!  After a good staring, he walked off, 
>> but I'm thinking I may not need to apply Bobbex to my plants to keep the 
>> deer away anymore!
>>
>> Also, around dusk I was gonna go out and fill my bird feeders on the 
>> deck. When I looked outside to make sure there were no more birds at the 
>> feeders, what do I find but a baby racoon asleep on my deck railing!
>>
>> I guess trying to make your yard bird friendly doesn't stop with the 
>> birds.
>>
>> Jan Hollerbach
>>
>> Sent from my iPhone
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>
>
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