Backyard wildlife: a nuisance or a treasure?

Coyote in Camo

Walking down the hill this morning with Lexie I looked up to see another dog on the trail near her. No, not a dog, a coyote. The coyote trotted nonchalantly across the trail, just feet from my silly shepherd and up the hillside where she shortly disappeared, so fine is her camouflage. I stopped to search and saw her just a hundred feet away, motionless and watching us.
The cats play the same trick on my dog. They are smart enough not to run, but just walk casually past and no prey instinct kicks in. I like to think the coyote is at least as intelligent as my cats.
To give Lexie further credit we often see coyotes on our walks, and they troll regularly by the back fence, encouraged by a neighbor who throws out coffee cans full of bird seed, loaves of bread, carrots, corn cobs and on some occasions raw chicken meat. If you were a coyote you’d hang out here too. We’ve tried to tell her that this sort of feeding is detrimental to everyone involved. So much seed attracts such high densities of birds that diseases spread easily. The rest of us contend with huge amounts of droppings. Doves can develop a fatal condition called doughy crop when they eat bread, as it gums up their digestive system. And attracting mammals like bunnies is one thing, but it can create a chain reaction involving larger predators. We also see raccoons and coati mundi and hear some pretty vicious quarreling in the night. These are not animals you want to find cornered in your backyard.
Coming home from the airport late last night we turned onto the street and startled two javelinas who were munching happily through that neighbor’s newly planted petunias. They dashed off into the darkness, but the showy mass planting was completely gone this morning.
Yes there’s wildlife out there. I am always thrilled to spot a critter, but I also have the greatest respect. What do you think? A nuisance, or a treasure?


6 responses to “Backyard wildlife: a nuisance or a treasure?

  1. Well where do I start? Thanks for bringing this worthy subject to light…as for your neighbor…the kind of kindness that ruins it for everyone….critters included. When are we going to learn to let them do their own thing without interfering? A little bird feeding is just fun….a lot of bird feeding is the start of a headlong disaster….so I’ll stop on this broken record and just go on record as saying you are so lucky to have the opportunity, as am I, to welcome wildlife into our lives…ON THEIR TERMS….watch, enjoy, hands off! Do I sound harsh?

  2. A treasure! Coati Mundi??? Did not we had those here…

  3. They are a treasure. We need to learn to cohabitat with our wonderful wildlife. They were here first and they deserve the respect from us to learn to coexhist. In nature there is so much beauty as long as we open our eyes to it.

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