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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WHY DO COYOTES BARK(instead of yipping and howling?).............Stan Gehrt(Lead Biologist of the decade running Chicago Urban Coyote Study) checked in with me on this question and fine tuned what the "Coyote Yipps Blogger" stated the other day in his writings......Coyotes bark when alarmed, sense danger and want to warn other family members of potential danger

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.
All coyote barking that I have ever heard stems from incidents with dogs -- an intrusion of some kind. This distressed barking should not be confused with the joyful howls that coyotes are prone to. Here I'm referring to distressed barking caused by the intrusion. But the intrusion doesn't necessarily always involve an intentional intrusion.

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!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information on barking by coyotes. We had one close by our house recently that barked for quite a while...and someone had just seen a young one that day, so maybe a barking mama.

Rick Meril said...

glad you enjoyed!

Unknown said...

I was walking in a midwest forest preserve with my dog and a friend with her dog. We surprised a juvenile coyote, stopped to observe him and he started barking. We took our cue and quickly walked away but he followed at quick trott and continued a high pitched bark. Our loud yells did not deter him nor did our two 80pound dogs who were leashed. He continued to bark loudly after we were out of sight . What do u make of this? What is the best way to deter a coyote if this happens again?

Anonymous said...

We have coyotes in the woods behind our house. At night, they do a lot of barking after reading your article maybe as dogs are let out in fenced acre plus grounds and they feel threatened. On the other hand we feel threatened as the coyotes can easily attacking our dogs. So two way street please. We have an influx of coyotes threAtening small animals, cats, dogs and small children.

Rick Meril said...

Thanks for checking in.............As trapping and killing Coyotes only generates an even larger population of songdogs(two breeding females take over the territory of the killed off alpha female---as well as the Coyotes genetic response to their being more food available based on kill off other coyotes), best to "train" the exisiting coyotes that your neighborhood does not offer "easy food pickings"...........Birdfeeders, open garbage cans and any other human created foodstuffs must stop being an easy target for coyotes...........Keep dogs inside when not being walked..............carry a baseball bat or golf club and threaten any coyotes that you see.............You want them wary of you and neighborhood.......but killing them will only generate larger numbers of them

Anonymous said...

I live among the wild life in the country, of upstate NY. We hear and see coyotes all the time. Last night was the first time I have heard one bark, late at night, close to the house. The coyote was young by the sound of his yips and howl...then heard a couple barks. Went on your site to explore an answer. Now I know it isn't unusual and possible reasons why a bark. Possibly his Mom was around. We have an 80 lb. Dutch Shepherd in the house and the sounds were just outside the window. Mom would know the dog was here. We don't feed the birds or leave anything around as a food source...but fields and woods all around with a bay out front. Try to learn all I can to live among Mother Nature. Thanks for the info. I have subscribed to your site to keep myself educated. Love it up here!

Julie Williams said...

This just happened this morning, I saw this coyote walking outside my pasture and then he went into the woods a bit stood there and barked at me. Here is a tape of it

Rick Meril said...

Upstate NY one pretty place to soak in our natural world............thanks for sharing the "barking" story with us

Rick Meril said... were apparently getting too close to pups of the year and the mom or dad coyote telling you to stay clear!

Anonymous said...

I live on a small farm with sheep,birds and some cows. Recently the coyote population has changed,either expanded or decreased,but they have started killing my sheep and chickens only eating them sometimes. Do you have any advice?

Rick Meril said...

Hi and thanks for contacting me.............Would need to know more about the circumstances surrounding this predation of your sheep and chickens........Are you grazing them differently as it relates to location on farm,,,,,,,,has any preventives such as guard dogs or fencing been removed from your property?............Has poison of any kind to eradicate rodents been used which would reduce Coyote natural prey?....You can use my name in contacting Eastern Coyote biologist Jon Way and perhaps he can provide more insight:

Lilly said...

Good to know. Thank you!!

Unknown said...

Was walking my two labs this afternoon and heard what sounded like a large dog barking in our rural Upstate NY neighborhood, maybe a 1/4 mile away. Our dogs are the only large dogs around. The same thing happened when we walked them this evening. Now I know we have coyotes in the area as they have been seen and heard yipping and howling but not barking often. When I came in the house after our evening walk, I went out on the porch by myself and listened, no barking. Could coyotes smell my dogs from such a distance?


Rick Meril said...

Terry....................Coyotes and Wolves have olphactory capabilities a 100X more pronounced than us humans...........Easy
1/4 mile smell picked up by the Coyotes.............Thanks for checking in