photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hurricane? Meh. Coyote??? RUN!!!!

I guess in a city the size of Houston, it's considered a very good day if the most newsworthy story is a coyote in the suburbs.

If so, the other day must have been the day all the criminals went to the beach, everyone drove carefully and no one played with matches, because the lead story was attached to a photo of a coyote trotting down a suburban sidewalk.

Not carrying the lifeless body of a tiny fluffy pet in its jaws.

Not part of a huge marauding pack leaving a trail of beer cans and cigarette butts in their wake.

Not staggering along covered in mange with foam spewing from it's mouth.

Not chasing down a small terrified child on a tricycle.

Just a beautifully coated, bright eyed, calm coyote minding his own business and not even jaywalking while traveling from point A to point B.

There followed an interview with a local biologist explaining to the maybe 2 or 3 adults on the planet who are unaware that when people bulldoze useless blocks of trees and weeds and build row upon row of houses separated by sterile empty lawns, what's actually happening is that something called "wildlife habitat" is being destroyed, and this wildlife has to either adapt or move on.

Or go extinct. There's always that option open to them.

Coyotes have proven themselves to be extremely adaptable- a short Google search of "Coyotes in Houston" brought up pages of sightings, including

(although they were definately NOT 100ft from his house- I can guarantee him if they were it would've been A LOT louder)


(and in that one I question the wisdom of having multiple fenced "pet deer" in what amounts to a city neighborhood- not even a suburb. Our friend lives in Bellaire, and you can just about reach from end to end of his yard with your arms outstretched.)

Also one from an exterminating company that warned in big, red, block letters not to jog even during the day in Memorial Park with your small dog, or it would get ambushed and yanked out of your loving embrace by the wily predators. Memorial Park is big, and full of other stuff coyotes eat like possums, raccoons, bunny rabbits and well-filled trash receptacles.

My favorite part of the segment was the woman who actually snapped the cell phone photo of the Monster- she was obviously and sincerely worried almost to distraction, and incredulously stated to the camera lens "We've been here ten years. When we moved down here they warned us about hurricanes, but no one said anything about COYOTES".

Comparing an unpredictable storm of enormous proportions capable of destroying everything and everyone in its path and causing years of despair in its aftermath to a furry critter who is, no doubt, an opportunist, but who mainly wants to be left alone seems...silly.

But I think people feel more in power if they can turn on the weather channel and track the storm, see the storm, know what (sort of) it's going to do and where it's (kind of) going to land. Even if they can't STOP it from happening, there's warning in a hurricane, time to prepare, time to evacuate.

Even tornadoes are huge, obvious things that give at least a fraction of warning before carrying off your home and landing you in Oz.

But COYOTES- good gawd- you could just open your garage door and POW- right in front of you.

The lack of a Coyote-Tracker channel gives them the element of surprise, and that's creepy to many people- people who have worked hard to eliminate the constant surprise that Mother Nature gives us.

While I routinely lose at least 2/3 of my chickens to coyotes or their feathered counterparts, hawks, I still thrill at the sight of them, still go outside to stand on the deck or porch to hear their singing in the woods not 50 ft from our house late on moon-drenched nights or during the day if they answer back to the freight train passing 1/4 mile away.

And one large one with a distinct reddish tone to his coat supervises the goings-on out on our new place (yet to be built on and moved to) from the edge of the forest.

I guess the difference is that we cherish those little Mother Nature Surprises, and look for them with anticipation instead of dread. Our place(s) purposely look wild and unkempt to both welcome the denizens of nature and repel anyone who fears them.


Coyotes and deer- the largest of the adaptive critters- are "in town" almost everywhere, but mostly unseen- a tribute to their adaptability and testament to their desire to be left alone. I've worked night shifts most of my life and have seen coyotes and deer in the center of a town of 80,000, a deer along the interstate highway that circumnavigates Chicago, and deer galore outside Houston- one side of the interstate lined with teeming noisy gaudily lit strip malls and the other side a narrow strip of grass backed by a corridor of trees that backdrop a calmly grazing herd. (I'll take that side, thank you).

I think part of the process of growing up needs to include respect for other species we share the planet with- and learning to act/react with the proper combination of delight, horror, grab the camera or the poison dependent on the true nature of the Nature encountered.

One of my daughter's friends actually moved out of her apartment until the mouse she spied was evicted.

This is a young adult woman who works on Capitol Hill and takes the Metro at all hours of the day or night.

Hurricane season is upon us here in the South and we've been hammered quite a bit by that particular weather event the last few years.

I think we need to worry about and prepare for THAT, and not make a such a big deal about a fleeting glimpse of Wily Coyote.

He was probably just working out HIS evacuation route...

1 comment:

  1. spot on as always Gal; good to see you're
    keeping busy and us amused