Coyote Stories II


(Continued from preceding post)


Like many mammals, coyotes like to play with things. The coyotes at the preserve not only liked to play with things but they had a playground in the field right in front of where their tunnel  through the brush opened onto the meadow.  And their playground was strewn with toys.  From somewhere they had, collected a very old plastic container that once held bar and chain oil.  Another favorite was a green soda pop bottle.  They also liked the plastic cap I placed over the shallow pvc well I had installed in one of the basins or ‘pans’  in the heart of the preserve.  I used the well to check the water depth in the shallow basins or pans that wander through the Preserve and the coyotes use the cap as a toy.  If I didn’t put it on securely I was likely to find it almost anywhere in the preserve with the tiny indentations of sharp little coyote teeth all around its perimeter.  (I tried to remember to put it on securely.)   

Another item that seemed to fascinate the coyotes was an amber plastic rain gauge.  I didn’t mind the well cap, after all, just as it was my responsibility to make sure the cap was securely fastened to the well pipe, it was the coyote's responsibility to try to remove the cap.  But the gauge was another matter.  You don't have a bog if you don't have water and you don't understand the bog if you don't understand  how water works in, on, and through the bog.  Consequently, I took weekly precipitation amounts at the bog.   After losing several weeks of data to the coyote's inquisitiveness I placed the rain gauge on a high pole.

The coyote's favorite toy, however, was a plastic yellow duck.  I first discovered this duck nestled among the reed canary grass. It wasn't until the staff began to remove the reed canary grass that the coyotes discovered the plastic duck.  This is not a small toy, nor is it light, so it must have taken some effort to carry it back to the playground and that is where I found it one day among the other toys...the green soda bottle, the black bar and chain oil container, some Styrofoam and the yellow duck, with its head missing.

The coyotes at the preserve were often a highlight of my weekly visits.   Always good for a chuckle and a smile, some times of tolerant frustration, I looked forward to seeing them, catching a glimpse of them as they followed behind me, and hearing them sing.  For some reason the coyotes left the preserve after I’d been there about a year and a half.  It wasn’t long after that I completed my work and moved on. The place just wasn’t the same without the coyotes.

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