Sometimes you don’t see them for months or even a whole year. More likely you will hear them, but sometimes it is a sound not heard for months. Other times you will see them once or twice in the same week and hear them nightly for a month, but then they disappear again. Sometimes, on a warm summer evening, we've heard their screeching on three different hillsides.
Coyotes are everywhere these days, hiding right in front of us. They are adaptable and clever, and reproduce readily. Around Camp Grouse the packs seem to follow the snowshoe rabbits. If there are lots of rabbits the coyotes soon will appear. For months we haven’t heard them, but last week they returned to sing us a chorus.
The sound isn’t like any canine baying or barking that I can imagine, but more like the screaming and screeching of violent arguing zombies. Our dogs take notice and sit up, or even hide under our bed. Some nights it’s so distant you pull up the blankets and try to decide if you are really hearing them. Other nights it is so close to the house the volume drowns out conversation indoors.
Yesterday the ravens were circling a cluster of softwoods at the edge to our snow-buried lawn. Late in afternoon I put on snowshoes to investigate. Ravens and crows protested and a coyote ran off as I approached. Little remained of what had been a healthy deer, a doe in her prime. She lay less than two hundred feet from our home. She would produce no fawn this year.
Last night the coyotes sang loudly. It probably was a celebration and feasting party. Today there are no ravens or crows, so I guess the carcass is gone.