COYOTES FEEL THE LIMITS OF LIVING NEAR HUMANS
Summer is when coyotes have a new litter of hungry mouths to feed, which can exhaust a mother hunting jackrabbits. For the last two years, a mother coyote and her pups has generated complaints on Paseo Tomas Montoya, across from the fire substation in north Corrales, where pups have been seen in a culvert.
It began when a dog owner in the Tierra de Corrales subdivision saw a coyote scale his 5½-foot fence, grab one of his 3-month-old Maltipoo pups, and disappear. Animal Control explored the area and found tracks showing jackrabbits and other wildlife are plentiful in the area. Based on this preference for stalking puppies, and comments from the fire station that the mother had shown aggression when they were irrigating, Animal Control decided the coyotes would have to be moved to discourage repeated use of the culverts.
With the help of the fire department, the pups were flushed from the culvert one or two at a
time, and taken to a veterinarian in Santa Fe to be checked. Coyote rescue in Los Alamos was
unavailable because of the Las Conchas fire, so the pups were taken to a wildlife refuge in Espanola, where they would be reconditioned to avoid humans before being released into the wild.
The mother coyote was seen the next day looking for her pups. As happened last year, one of
the pups had escaped capture, so she was not left childless. The Maltipoo owner, meanwhile,
expressed regret at the outcome, but predation on domestic animals ultimately endangers coyotes themselves, which are not protected by any law. An adult goat had been killed by a coyote in the month of June.
A happier ending came for a coyote mother who was successfully “bumped” (encouraged to
move territory) after a resident complained of seeing coyote pups steal his newspaper every
morning. Indeed, shredded newspaper was found in a culvert near Meadowlark. Animal Control and the resident increased their patrols of the area, which led the mother to relocate her den about a half mile away. The village policy is to leave coyotes alone unless they show aggression.
Another animal caper took place in early July when a bull snake got into a predicament after
sneaking into a chicken coop and feasting on a chick. Engorged, it could not slither back out
through the chicken wire, and had to be captured and released.
Corrales resident JoAnn McKenzie was already soft on roadrunners, which her neighbor had
taught her to entice with little bits of ground beef. Several of the omnivorous birds had set
up nests in her driveway and garage on Camino Hermosa, west of Loma Larga. But even she
was surprised when one of her daughters, home for a visit, found a bed of sticks in the greenhouse attached to their living quarters. On a high shelf on a metal case, the nest of branches contained five eggs. In late June the eggs hatched, yielding five hungry mouths and two doting mothers—avian and human. McKenzie admits to being enchanted by the state bird, many of which she has tamed with clucks and meat. “They are special to me. They have a lot of personality,” she says. “I just think they’re fun.” The birds clearly think the same of her.