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Do not feed the coyotes….

DSC08683The City has finally put up some signs letting people know there are coyotes in Sam Smith Park. They have been around as long as we’ve lived here, but it seems that there have been increased sightings over the past couple years. At least I think it is coyotes we have. It could be we have coy-wolves which have apparently become more common. I don’t know that I could tell the difference unless perhaps I saw them side-by-side.

Last winter, the dogs and I were followed by one on the filtration plant grounds. The coyote kept the same distance from us – about a football field away –  but was clearly checking us out. When we left the grounds and walked along Iris, the coyote followed as far as Twenty Third Street. At that point we had reached Twenty Fifth and turned south.

In the fall I saw one coming up from the lake. The coyote was only 100 feet or so from us but ignored us completely and trotted along the path and into some woods. We have a dog walker who takes the partners out for a long walk early afternoons, and she has seen coyotes a few times over the past year, including in pairs. A couple years ago, I watched one trot down the middle of Lake Prominade and turn up Twenty Fifth street only to disappear shortly after turning north. One of the local coyotes is wearing a radio collar, and I presume somebody somewhere is tracking its movements.

As far as I know, nobody around here has been threatened by the local wildlife, and I haven’t heard of any dogs attacked in the park, but still it is worrisome to have wild carnivores casually wandering around the park and the neighbourhood. I have two giant dogs and I feel pretty safe walking with them.  However, I’ve seen people walking their pocket-dogs off-leash in the park and it seems to me that is a very bad idea. In fact, working in pairs, it wouldn’t surprise me if a coyote could take down a medium-sized dog.

The sign says Do Not Feed Coyotes. That seems intuitively obvious, but but nothing surprises me. People do all kinds of ill-advised and stupid things all the time. I’m sure the coyotes have a decent food supply in the park. There are plenty of mice and I have heard they feed on unsuspecting ducks and geese and swans parked too close to shore at night. Still, in the midst of a cold winter, I’m sure a plump little pup, or God forbid, a toddler,  might look mighty appetizing for a coyote out searching for dinner.

The signs are a good idea. At the very least, people should be aware the coyotes are out there.

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