August 3, 2023 | By:

Coexisting with Coyotes

A family of coyotes photographed by a motion-triggered wildlife camera on Bainbridge Island. (Photo: Seattle Urban Carnivore Project)

A family of coyotes photographed by a motion-triggered wildlife camera on Bainbridge Island. (Photo: Seattle Urban Carnivore Project)

Coyotes are in the news a lot these days, and they’re usually maligned. Here in my own community on Bainbridge Island, neighbors who are generally fond of forests and wildlife sometimes surprise me with their negative comments about coyotes. I wish they could see what I see when a coyote slips through the yard and casts a glance my way, her wild beauty taking my breath away every single time.

The fact that coyotes persist and even thrive among us seems nothing shy of a miracle given the intensity with which they are persecuted nationwide—yet persist and thrive they do, in every U.S. state but Hawaii, and north and south of us, too. Maybe they’re here to remind us that nature is meant to be shared, and that tolerance is an attribute that benefits us all. Tolerance brings diversity, and unexpected joy. Without it, we live in a fearful and lonely world.

My new article in Tideland magazine is a celebration of coyotes, and a plea for coexistence from my little slice of the Salish Sea. “Calls of the Wild” opens as follows (please note that, unfortunately, the second paragraph was accidentally cut from the print version of the magazine during its design phase):

I noticed the coyote at the edge of the trees, watching me bike past on a summer’s eve. She was just a shadow at first, a dog-like apparition with piercing eyes. I continued to pedal along the trail toward downtown Bainbridge Island, then looked back to see if she’d emerged from her hiding place. Sure enough, the coyote was limping along behind me, pausing only after I turned my bike around. Now she was out in the open, about forty feet from where I stood.

This was an experience I know some people dread: coming face-to-face with a coyote, nobody else around. Fortunately, fear didn’t enter my mind. I could see that the coyote was curious—and so was I. “What happened to your leg?” I uttered out loud, imagining her pointing to a passing car. But when the coyote continued to peer at me, I realized I shouldn’t perpetuate her interest in humans. “Good luck, my friend,” I said, before clapping my hands. She ran back into the woods, and I was on my way. (continued)

You can read the digital version of the published article in its entirety here, or look for a hard copy in the West Puget Sound region.

This first appeared on Paula MacKay’s blog, Wild Prose.

Spread Rewilding Around the Globe!
Subscribe To Comments On This Article
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeff Hoffman
7 months ago

I don’t think that your neighbors who dislike coyotes are fond of forests and wildlife, except maybe in the abstract. In order to really be fond of those things, you must be fond of ALL native species, not just ones with which you feel comfortable. I will say that coyotes can be rather mischievous (hence their reputation for being so), but we should look at that with humor, not disdain. Alternatively, if you can’t bring yourself to appreciate coyotes’ mischievous ways, just stay away from them. These poor animals, like wolves, have been persecuted by the colonizers, and by Europeans in general, for far too long, and this must stop. Native coyotes, wolves, bears, etc. have every bit as much right to be here as any human or humans.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x