Earlier, as the coyote turned and disappeared into the undergrowth, I captured this photo that shows the darkness of fresh mud on its lower limbs. Given that the land we were on was surrounded by Union Bay on three sides, I suspect the coyote had been hunting ducks and geese along the shoreline. Most likely, it leaped after one (or more) and ended up in the shallow mud along the shore.
As I mentioned in the interview, Ginger's reaction to smelling a coyote is to tremble in fear. It has been many generations since one of Ginger's ancestors was responsible for its own survival. I doubt trembling is an effective survival skill. It only works for her because it motivates me to remove her from the situation. (Click Here to read another coyote story that included Ginger and her trembling.)
The lives of the Canada Geese, on the other hand, are totally dependent on their survival skills. It is interesting to consider whether their approach might be useful to those of us who encounter coyotes.
To begin with, the geese are always alert and paying attention to their surroundings. When they see potential danger their response is, to stop everything, stand up tall, and carefully watch the predator. If they feel flight may be required they may even fan their wings, loosening their muscles and looking even larger and more impressive. If the threat continues to come closer, they begin a slow stately walk to safety - for them that is the water, where they are more adept. During this slow steady transition, they continue to stand tall and do not take their eyes off the potential danger. If the threat continues to grow they will begin making very loud, irritating noises - predators prefer peace and quiet and will often turn and disappear if they are announced. Only as a last resort do the geese take flight.
I hope your next coyote encounter is a positive, awe-inspiring experience.
1) Learn and leave established native flora undisturbed.2) Remove invasive species and then wait to see if native plants begin to grow without assistance. (When native plants start on their own, then these plants or trees are likely the most appropriate flora for the habitat.)3) Scatter seeds from nearby native plants in a similar habitat.4) If you feel you must add a new plant then select a native plant while considering how the plant fits with the specific habitat and understanding the plant's logical place in the normal succession of native plants.
My friend Elaine Chuang shared several resources (that were new to me) from the January 2022 Washington Ornithological Society meeting. By the way, Elaine credits Vicki King for researching and supplying this information. Keystone native plants are an important new idea. Douglas Tallamy in the book "Nature's Best Hope " explains that caterpillars supply more energy to birds than any other plant eater. He also mentions that 14% of our native plants, i.e. Keystone Plants, provide food for 90% of our caterpillars. This unique subset of native plants and trees enables critical moths, butterflies, and caterpillars that in turn provide food for the great majority of birds, especially during the breeding season.
Here are the top two relevant links.
A video all about native keystone plants for wildlife:
New! Updated resources for adding keystone native plants to your yard.
This updated collection includes a variety of new and different books, perspectives, and interactions between plants, birds, and insects. Thank you to Vicki King for continuing to collect all of these exceptionally helpful works. Also, thank you to each of the individuals who contributed.
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A Final Photo: