Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 5:33 AM
To: Meril, Rick
Subject: Re: FW: [New post] Spooked
Coyotes definitely bark when alarmed or when they need to warn others. They've done it to me, when I surprised a mother with pups. She barked repeatedly and stomped her feet, not advancing but not retreating, until all her pups were out of harms way. The pups scattered on the first bark, they knew right away what it meant.
Although that was not necessarily the case here, I'm sure they do it under different situations, including warning their family groups.
Today, for instance, this coyote, who obviously was caught off his guard, became surprised or spooked when two dogs and their owner appeared within the coyote's safety range suddenly and without warning. The dogs had not chased the coyote at all, though there may have been canine communication of some sort -- by eye contact and body language. Dog owners are seldom aware of this communication. The spooked coyote ran off to a high perch where he began a long, distressed, and drawn out barking session. He was "bitching" and "screaming" to let everyone know he was upset, and this continued for a good long time -- until the "perpetrators" had walked on, far out of sight.
In this instance, when the coast had become clear, the coyote trotted off to another part of the path where he knew the dogs and walker would be returning, and waited vigilantly. I observed him watch them coming. He continued in this same spot until the dogs and owner were within about 150 feet, and then he stealthily slithered from view. There had been no barking the second time around -- that part of the incident was over.
This time the coyote just observed, to assure himself that the dogs and owner would be leaving in the same direction from which they had come, and maybe to let them know that he was still there!