West Seattle coyotes: Another pair spotted, this time in Riverview

November 20, 2011 at 11:52 pm | In Coyotes, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 22 Comments

This is the third coyote sighting in a row reported as a pair. This one’s from Todd:

I wanted to let people in my neighborhood know about a pair of coyotes my wife and I encountered tonight while walking our dog around Riverview Playfield. They were near the tennis courts and playground when I spotted the pair and they were watching us. We stopped and then one of them started running toward us and stopped about 30 yards away. I got between our dog and them and walked toward them with arms up and yelling – trying to scare them away – but the one in front only backed off about 20 feet, then stopped to watch us again. We altered our route and I saw the aggressive one pick up a large branch in its mouth and head downhill. They both reappeared about 30 seconds later and watched us walk away. They showed very little fear and they were fairly large – maybe 50-60 lbs.

Trying to scare away is what experts recommend – it’s supposed to at least keep the coyotes guessing.

22 Comments

  1. Where is Riverview?

    Comment by A J R — 11:58 pm November 20, 2011 #

  2. We saw one of them while walking our pup tonight as well. Same location; tennis courts in Riverview playfield. The coyote followed us after we turned around, showed no fear of us.

    Riverview neighborhood is north of highland park, south of SSCC.

    Comment by erika — 12:14 am November 21, 2011 #

  3. AJR – Riverview is a park on 11th (one block north of Holden in Highland Park) which abuts the West Duwamish Greenbelt on it’s entire north and eastern sides.

    I walked my dog in that exact same spot early this afternoon. There is a bench there and I sat down to tie my shoes and let my dog meander with his leash still on while I did that. He bolted over to the edge of the blackberry’s immediately. I am wondering now if he had picked up the coyotes’ scent there.

    My dog has been acting very strangely on walks in that general area of Highland Park over the past two weeks. A few days ago, right in the area on 11th and Kenyon (about three blocks south of today’s sighting), two coyotes were spotted by somebody – maybe the same pair? But before I even saw that report, my dog had been pulling me down that very same alley which we *never ever* go down. Odd, it was. I am finding it rather interesting how my dog is reacting.

    Along the Riverview Peewee Fields, there has been a huge amount of work done on cleaning out the greenbelt of invasives by the awesome volunteers from Nature Consortium and the city. As a matter of fact, nearly the entire length of the greenbelt has been cleared along 11th in particular. I wonder if the reclamation work has obliterated the former habitat of the multitudes of wild and feral rabbits that use to hang out in the blackberry thickets there? One can imagine a steady diet of rabbit for the coyotes, but if the rabbits have been displaced in the past couple of months, then perhaps this has emboldened the not-so-shy coyotes to traverse further away from the greenbelt in search of food.

    Comment by westseattledood — 12:16 am November 21, 2011 #

  4. I believe they have young they are feeding. Our backyard is the green belt. Several weeks ago I woke up to several coyotes howling at 3 am. The howls all sounded different and two sounded like young. Several cats have gone missing in the neighboorhood. Maybe they are expanding their search for more food. This is the first time I’ve heard about multiple coyotes together. I’ve only ever seen them one at a time.

    Comment by Janelle — 12:48 am November 21, 2011 #

  5. Any time of year, if there are young involved, I would caution people to keep dogs on leashes and try to give the coyotes space. They will be most defensive if they have pups, although this would be late in the year for small pups. Coyotes will normally shy away from humans — lord knows they have reason to fear us a species. But if they perceive a threat, as in a dog coming toward their family and their young, they may get aggressive. As with all wild animals, a little common sense and respect goes a long way toward peaceful cohabitation. It’s almost always some action or ignorance on the part of humans that leads wild animals to behave aggressively or become habituated enough to approach.

    Comment by Artie — 4:24 am November 21, 2011 #

  6. We had a coyote crying out at 2 am this morning, right behind the condos here on Duwamish Head.

    I see a lot of racoons, but this is the first coyote I have heard or seen.

    Comment by Bill at Duwamish Head — 6:23 am November 21, 2011 #

  7. There is wildlife everywhere we decide to build our homes and cities. We are lucky they don’t deliberately attack us for building in the space they made their home. The coyotes are much more friendly and tolerant than the people who live here so why harass them? Humans have got to realize that animals have a right to live here too. It’s not their fault that we changed the landscape of their home. It’s still their home and it’s inhumane to want them to disappear just because they might eat a cat or dog or two, which are animals and part of the food chain. BTW racoons love to eat cats. Coyotes have been here longer than we have, get used to seeing them.

    Comment by My2Cents — 7:25 am November 21, 2011 #

  8. My2Cents – the reason it is recommended that we act big and scary and yell and stuff when close to coyotes is precisely so that we CAN continue to peacefully cohabitate.
    .
    Why harass them?
    .
    When people act all calm and respectful when they meet bold coyotes, that doesn’t help anything. It simply leads to coyotes loosing their natural wariness of humans. And then that leads to coyotes who aren’t just killing cats, but who are checking out leashed dogs walking next to a person, (or even coyotes looking at a toddler playing in a back yard. )
    .
    And when you have a coyote so bold that it considers a leashed dog walking beside its owner to be potential prey, then it no longer is possible to peacefully cohabitate, and the coyote winds up getting caught and killed. In my view, respect for coyotes, and enjoying knowing they live close by, means you also take responsibility that you aren’t part of FALSELY teaching the coyote that it is safe to approach humans.
    .
    Some nature lovers seem to think that we have some sort of mutual pact to live peacefully and respectfully close to wild animals. That sounds good, but the problem lies in realizing that the coyote (or other wild animal) doesn’t understand and hasn’t signed on to that “mutual” pact. There is no pact that says we’ll leave you alone and you’ll leave us alone.
    .
    Comparing coyotes to raccoons? Okay, interesting comparison, but haven’t you ever heard of somebody illadvisedly leaving food out for raccoons, and later finding that it is impossible to safely go past the dozens of emboldened raccoons that they have attracted? It happens all the time, and they can even become so bold that they enter houses to search garbage.
    .
    Yelling and scaring coyotes is the WAY we can peacefully coexist.

    Comment by Lura — 8:03 am November 21, 2011 #

  9. Thanks, Lura. I’m about as pacifistic a nature/wildlife lover you’re going to find, but even I have gotten that after the past few years of tracking coyote reports, etc. And raccoons … two were out back meddling with our trash can at 4 am yesterday, and despite the subfreezing temps, I knew it was important to crack open the back door and make some noise. Off they galumphed … TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:31 am November 21, 2011 #

  10. My husband saw a young coyote walking south on 39th at Hinds last night at 9:30pm. Just an fyi…first one we’ve seen. Must have come up from Fairmount cut!

    Comment by Always confused — 10:01 am November 21, 2011 #

  11. My2Cents
    .
    “The coyotes are much more friendly and tolerant”
    .
    Until they get hungry. These are feral/wild animals.
    .
    “Humans have got to realize that animals have a right to live here too.”
    .
    You live in an established city full of humans. We only allow certain animals in. No bears, cougars, exotics, etc.. I am not certain why DFW does not classify these animals as feral dogs and deal with the issue, as they should have done two years ago when the numbers were much lower.
    .
    “It’s still their home ”
    .
    There were very few coyotes here just two or three years ago. This is a new migration into W. Seattle. And their numbers are increasing fast. As WSB has mentioned there are probably more than a few coyotes in every green space now. If you want to check on that, just plot out the WSB reports over time on a piece of paper to see what the trend looks like.
    .
    “they might eat a cat or dog or two”
    .
    The coyotes are big animals that will need an increasing supply of food to be the happy, human tolerating, animals they seem to be today. It is not just one or two cats or dogs. Ask a few of the (ex-)pet owners down on Alki.
    .
    “BTW racoons love to eat cats.”
    .
    Raccoons became a big pest problem about five years ago when people were leaving food out for them. But Raccoons are omnivores, unlike coyotes, and will go after other food sources before trying to get after a fast moving cat or squirrel, like WSB’s garbage cans. Also, raccoons are not pack hunters either. Big differences here between coyotes and raccoons.
    .

    Comment by Neal Chism — 10:47 am November 21, 2011 #

  12. Just checking Wikipedia, I am mistaken about the omnivore thing on coyotes. Looks like they eat vegetables too.

    Comment by Neal Chism — 11:03 am November 21, 2011 #

  13. I grew up here in West Seattle and Beacon Hill in the 70′s, and never saw, heard, or heard OF coyotes until a few years ago.
    Do coyotes have an natural urban predators to keep their population in control? No, only humans, and we don’t do anything but wave our arms. They aren’t stupid, they know they have nothing to really fear.

    Answer this for yourself: what happens to an expanding population of animals with plenty of food and no predators?

    Comment by Tony — 11:48 am November 21, 2011 #

  14. I know at least two coyotes personally. Living outdoors you see them all the time. They know me well.

    Comment by Jiggers — 12:31 pm November 21, 2011 #

  15. I live near the Riverview Playfield as well, and a coyote walked up my driveway at around 5:30 a.m. early last week (Monday or Tuesday). I chased him out of the yard, and he ran back towards the playfield. They may be more aggressive when in twos or packs.

    I’ve been keeping my cats in from dawn to dusk, since one of my sweet kitties was killed in my backyard a year ago by a coyote — tell-tale sign: only legs and head left behind :-( I was devastated.

    Today I locked them in for the entire day; had an eerie feeling, as they’ve been acting more wary lately, but not wary enough. They definitely live over in the W Duwamish Greenbelt, and come into the neighborhoods for feeding. Not sure how much of that they do during the daytime hours.

    Comment by Lulu — 12:37 pm November 21, 2011 #

  16. Coyotes are not new to this area in the last 2-3 years. I saw my first one ten years ago. It’s not clear to me whether there are more of them now, or whether they’re getting bolder. Possibly both.
    .
    Coyotes WERE pretty rare in much of the country until relatively recently—urbanization actually suits them because, as scavengers, there’s plenty for them to scavenge. Another contributing factor in the spread of their range nationwide is the decline in wolves. Coyotes have moved into the empty niche.

    Comment by datamuse — 9:39 pm November 21, 2011 #

  17. Pups in the fall are larger, weaned, and able to digest meat. This is an extremely dangerous time of year.

    Comment by JoAnne — 11:42 pm November 21, 2011 #

  18. Kill the coyotes. Stop them from killing our household pets.
    It’s just a mater of time till one attacks a small child. There wasn’t
    any reported sightings 10 years ago. They are multiplying like crazy.
    The city needs to eradicate them.

    Comment by Pv — 5:20 am November 22, 2011 #

  19. Increasing coyote populations in urban neighborhoods has been experienced all over the states. Here’s an interesting article about issues in other cities, and sites incidents where a dog was killed by a pack of coyotes while being taken for a walk by its owner, and sites two different instances of coyotes trying to drag away toddlers.
    http://www.californiagreensolutions.com/cgi-bin/gt/tpl.h,content=2689

    The Humane Society’s website has a lot of info on resolving coyote conflicts in your neighborhood. The two most important things I read were:

    1. Most coyote problems are due to people feeding them, either intentionally or unintentionally, with things like pet food, unsecured garbage, fallen fruit, and improperly contained compost piles.

    2. Hazing (making yourself loud and large) is the best way to reinstill fear of humans into the coyotes that have become habituated and aggressive/bold towards humans.

    http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/coyotes/tips/solving_problems.html

    I will definitely be more cautious while walking my dog. PLEASE make sure you are not feeding them! Keep your cats and dogs indoors!

    Comment by Nicole — 2:29 pm November 22, 2011 #

  20. Pv, I saw my first coyote in West Seattle in 1999. They aren’t newcomers.

    Comment by datamuse — 6:32 pm November 27, 2011 #

  21. Pack of coyotes spotted last night around midnight in the 7100 block of Woodside Pl SW (between Othello & Myrtle). They were seen going through yards and driveways. 3 seen up close, possibly more. Yelled at them and they took off headed north towards Gatewood Elementary. PEOPLE KEEP YOUR PETS INDOORS. The coyotes are just trying to survive and it’s our job as responsible pet owners to keep our domestics inside where they are safe.

    Comment by wagsss — 1:00 pm November 29, 2011 #

  22. Our neighbors in Highland Park saw a pair on the morning of the 28th. Looks like a couple of different family groups. Wonder if they know each other and exchange news about us two legged ones.

    Comment by Kay K — 10:27 pm November 29, 2011 #

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