Coyotes – Our New Neighbours
There have been several sightings of coyotes in the neighbourhood – at Bayfront Park, along the waterfront trail and on our streets. Urban and suburban sprawl means they have lost habitat and are moving in search of food and den space. I expect that their route into our neighbourhood is along the shoreline or the railroad tracks or from the conservation areas through the ravines to our west.
Postings in the City of Hamilton website (https://www.hamilton.ca/animals-pets/wildlife/coyotes ) and Coyote Watch Canada (https://www.coyotewatchcanada.com/site/coexisting-with-coyotes ) provide excellent advice.
Coyotes are in search of food. That can be unsecured garbage, fallen bird seed which attracts rodents, birds, rabbits and squirrels which are typical coyote prey. Unfortunately it can also be pets – cats that are left to roam and small dogs off leash. While there are those that believe that cats must be allowed outside to roam – they are prey – not just for coyotes but hawks and owls as well as diseases and infections transmitted by their feral brethren. Best to keep your pets indoors or in a well fenced yard. A cat run can be constructed outdoors with heavy mesh wire – coyotes can break through chicken coop wire. Do not approach a coyote den when there are pups, usually March through June. Coyote parents are as protective of their young as we are of ours. Coyote watch has some simple to follow suggestions if you encounter a coyote on a walk or in your yard:
• Pick up small children and pets.
• Back away slowly – never turn your back on a coyote/fox/wolf/or domestic dog.
• Wave your arms above your head, stomp your feet, clap your hands, Be big and loud.
• Use hazing techniques – shake keys, pop open an umbrella, throw a stick or other object in the direction of – not at – the animal, blow a whistle, bang a pot or pan, flash a light.
These and more techniques can be found in the brochure Keeping Coyotes Away available at www.coyotewatchcanada.com