by Lani Tunzi
Once upon a time, it was rare to see a coyote. Now, coyotes are a common sight in Eagle Rock and other NELA neighborhoods, often seen isolated trotting down the sidewalks or heard howling in packs.
And we’re about to see and hear more of them. After a mating month in February, pups will be born in April and May – and the newborn litters will require coyotes to hunt around the clock. Urban coyotes are mostly nocturnal or out and about in the early morning and at sunset. But when they have families to feed, coyotes can be seen at virtually anytime.
However, an actual encounter with a coyote would be rare, because coyotes establish patterns that don’t interfere with humans. If against all odds, you find yourself one-on-one with a coyote, it is advised to stand tall and maintain eye contact, making loud sounds and big movements to discourage any further interaction.
While coyotes don’t pose much of a threat to humans, they are a threat to pets. A coyote’s natural diet includes rodents and fruits, but they will prey on small dogs and cats that they find in backyards, front yards or roaming the neighborhood.
According to the Urban Coyote Initiative, a team of photographers and scientists dedicated to tracking and maintaining the lively presence of coyotes, the simplest way to avoid any negative interactions is to avoid feeding coyotes in any way. So, make sure to close up your trash cans, pick up fallen fruits that may be dotting your lawn and sidewalks – and keep your pets inside.
As the weather warms up, be especially mindful not to let your pet into your yard unattended or anywhere outside off-leash.
The coyotes are out there, on their hillsides and street corners, reminding us with their midnight howls that they are residents of NELA just as much as we are.
Lani Tunzi is in the 11th grade at Eagle Rock High School.