Ten days have raced by since snow blanked Oakland County, and the mercury plunged to ten degrees below zero. Spring has accelerated her annual duel with winter, and no matter how long it takes, spring always wins. The sights, signs, and sounds of nature’s way in February’s last days are everywhere.
Aldo Leopold wrote: “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.” I consider myself an unabashed member of the latter group. Coyotes certainly represent “wild things,” but they are not restricted to rural sections of our county. They are extremely adaptable creatures, and it’s perfectly normal for them to be noticed not only in our State Recreation Areas, Oakland County Parks, and Huron-Clinton Metroparks, but also in our suburban and urban areas. Coyotes are found in every city and town in our county, including populous Pontiac, Royal Oak, and Rochester, nor are they strangers to the city of Detroit.
This excellent video of a coyote hunting meadow voles in a roadside field at Detroit’s Rouge Park, as a deer casually watched, was filmed last week and shared with me by my nature friend, Donna Croaker Hall.
The eastern coyote (Canis latrans) is an intelligent, curious, and highly adaptable animal. Although once confined to the great American deserts and prairies where they were targets of ceaseless eradication campaigns, coyotes have now colonized our nation from coast to coast. “Unlike wolves, which succumbed quickly to predator control measures, decades of intensive persecution did not eradicate coyotes – the unrelenting pressure on them did invoke an ancient coyote biological imperative: It triggered larger litters of pups and colonization behavior that pushed them into new settings everywhere.” – Dan Flores in his 2016 book Coyote America. Continue reading →
When many of us think about nature and wildlife, our thoughts drift to faraway places. However, Oakland County remains surprisingly rich with wildlife. Even with increased urbanization and a loss of biodiversity accelerated by human actions, wild animals are abundant in parks, trails, greenways, and even have the freedom to wander our cities, villages, and townships. One might say their wild spirit leads them, but in reality, it is their endless search for prey.
Despite the fact that we live in the midst of a vast array of wildlife, it’s not easy to get a true glimpse into their daily lives. By using hidden cameras, we can observe wildlife in their natural habitat and view a true representation of their day and nighttime behaviors. Three species are standouts when it comes to being captured by motion-activated camera traps: the red fox, the white-tailed deer and the eastern coyote. Their stealthy night moves, caught on camera, give us a glimpse as they are, not as our minds imagine them. Continue reading →