The View From The Office
by Brent Gill
BEAUTIFUL GREEN SPRINGVILLE
April 3, 2006
An early morning breakfast is disturbed. Read on to learn how.
This is the amazing view to the east from my "office" window. Note the wildflowers blooming in the draw. That is where the coyote was eating her breakfast.
Because I have the privilege of telecommuting, thus work from my home, I get the chance to see Nature reveal herself out my “office window.”
This morning, around 8:00 AM, I went to the sink for a cup of coffee, and as is my usual habit, scanned the area within my view. This in itself is a pretty nice view, as I look out over a 2.5 acre pasture which right now is beautifully green. On the far side of the pasture, a fence separates the field from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. From that fence, nearly to Nevada except for a few more fences, it is nothing but wilderness.
Thus, my view is out on a delightfully wild area. This often brings some wild animal or another into my view.
This morning, waiting for the microwave to reheat the coffee, I spied some motion. I discovered what I am assuming was a female Coyote just outside the fence, having breakfast with a cottontail rabbit. I do not suggest that she had invited the rabbit for muffins and coffee. The rabbit was breakfast.
There is a little clump of brush very nearby, trash left over from cutting an oak tree. Most probably the rabbit was hiding in the brush, and made the fatal mistake of taking a run for it.
The fact that she was eating her catch within plain sight of the house, is somewhat unusual. If the female had pups back in the den that were old enough to need meat, she would have certainly made her way back to the nest with her catch, only eating after the kids got their fill. But, since the pups are not usually born until April or May, she is probably just now getting pregnant.
But as she enjoyed her breakfast, one of my calves was standing right at the fence, not one bit worried about the Coyote, watching intently. Obviously, the calf was not concerned about a carnivore being within 6 feet of her, though separated by a fence.
Suddenly, the female Coyote snapped her head around and looked to the south, causing the calf to look too. I scanned along the fence and down toward the barn, but nothing revealed itself to me.
Then, I heard the other Coyote, most probably the male, calling or barking. The sound of an adult Coyote is not a bark, nor is it a howl. I have termed it sort of a “ki-yi–yi-yi” sound. He was not making a noise that he wanted to travel long distances, for he knew she was not too far ahead of him. So, his voice was relatively soft, compared to the yowling I have heard at times when they are telling the world where they are.
I finally found him, sitting down probably 150 feet south and over a little knoll from her. He kept looking back to the south and southwest toward my barn. He seemed to think that she was down that direction, and kept tipping his head back, “ki-yi-yi-yi’ing” Then he would look and listen.
Nothing. No answering yips. No sound of another Coyote moving through the country. However, I suspect even if they were close together, you would not hear much sound from their movement.
I glanced back to see what she was doing. She had disappeared! She was long gone from where she had been enjoying her breakfast. I spied her going up through the trees, headed off behind some rocks and trees, getting completely out of sight! And, being most silent! But, safely in her mouth were the remains of her breakfast.
She was making long trotting steps climbing up and away from where she could hear the male. Once in a while she would stop, and look tentatively over her shoulder.
He quite unsuccessfully tried to get her to answer. Finally he headed back to the north, toward where their den most probably is to be found.
Was this an interloper into the area? Could be, but my hunch is that they are mates. But … she was most definitely not going to share that rabbit with the old dog. It was sort of as if she were saying, “He can catch his own rabbit. This one is mine.” And, my guess is that she is also eating for a litter which is probably growing inside her.
Seeing these things out the window of my “office,” is a real treat, and a true blessing. It sure beats traffic on a city street! I hope sharing it with you once in a while will be a pleasure for you, too.