Squirrels on notice!

There are not one, but two mammalian predators looking for the squirrels in my backyard. One of the red foxes stopped by the other day, furtively sneaking along the fence line between backyards, pausing under some evergreens for a look at the bird feeders, and then hiding next to a shed in my neighbor’s yard.

The squirrels were smart enough to avoid this red fox, an infrequent visitor to my backyard this winter.

But the next day, a coyote lingered in the backyard, hunting along the edge between the grass and the forest for unsuspecting squirrels.

This particular coyote had a foxy-looking face, and some reddish fur on its head and ears, so I was confused at first glance. But it was noticeably bigger than a fox.
The head doesn’t look quite right for a coyote, but the body fur is definitely not fox. This animal was also smaller and less husky than the coyote that visited several years ago.
Coyote in the backyard, December 15, 2013. Usually coyotes will displace red foxes from an area, either by intimidation or by attacking and killing them. So I’ll have to see which one sticks around for the rest of the winter.

10 thoughts on “Squirrels on notice!

  1. Wow. That last photo of the coyote in the snow is awesome, even if it is from years ago. At the wildlife refuge where I take a lot of my photos, I was told by one of the volunteers that coyotes had killed most of the foxes by digging into their dens–I think it was recorded on some game cameras. I keep on the lookout for coyotes, but have still not seen one yet. One day, though, a vehicle with a really loud siren passed by and it caused a pack of coyotes to howl for an extended period of time. It was somewhat bone-chilling, though the sound was coming from the middle of a heavily vegetated field and I was in no obvious danger. It is amazing to me that you have both foxes and coyotes in your back yard.

    • I’ve heard coyotes howl even in response to humans pretending to howl, and the other day someone told me that nightingales (in the U.K.) will sing when they hear cellos playing. Who knew?

      • Is it amazing how animals and birds will respond to certain frequencies. I used to dogsit for a friend’s cocker spaniel and was amazed when she started howling when she heard a siren. I tend to expect a howl out of a coyote more than out of a cocker spaniel.

  2. When we lived in White Bear Lake, MN, we had only gray foxes. We now live in Central New York and we have, gray foxes, red foxes, and coyotes!

    • Wow! That’s quite amazing that they all tolerate each other’s presence. I lived in Ithaca for a few years, but I don’t think I ever saw a fox or a coyote (I was pretty focused on birds back then).

  3. I don’t mind seeing the occasional fox (although if I had a pet I probably would). I do, however, mind that coyotes have taken up residences closer in the cities. They have been sighted in so many areas and seem to be much more bold than fox. Does that seem accurate?

    • Yes, I think that’s accurate, and I’m sure coyotes would attack any dog or cat or other mammalian pet that was its size or smaller. So, they are a problem in an urban area, but they are also very tolerant of human presence — maybe hoping to find scraps of food.

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