West Seattle coyotes: Schmitz Park question, and sightings elsewhere

On a quiet (so far) Friday night, a few notes about West Seattle coyotes, starting with a question:

SCHMITZ PARK COYOTES STILL THERE? Nita wonders:

I’ve lived on Manning Street by Schmitz Park for about 13 years. There has been a pack of coyotes in the park for about 10 years. We usually hear them howl at night, especially if a siren goes down Admiral. It sounded like 6 or 8 individuals, probably a family group. We would see one trotting down the street near dusk or dawn maybe once every other month.

I haven’t heard or seen a coyote in the park in at least 6 weeks. I was wondering if anyone had any information about this.

Prior to the coyotes moving in about 10 years ago, there was a breeding pair of red foxes who lived in the park. They could often be seen in the neighborhood and I have photos of them on my front lawn. Then the coyotes moved in and either killed them or chased them out.

The coyotes also greatly reduced the number of raccoons in the neighborhood. And greatly increased the number of raccoons sighted with most of their tails lopped off – “the ones that got away,” no doubt.

Anyway, just a local amateur naturalist here, wondering what’s become of the pack that’s lived in Schmitz Park for so long. My theory is that they’ve hunted out the mice and rats and moles that they depend on for survival, and have had to move on. I’d be interested to hear from someone more knowledgeable than myself.

This also came up recently in the WSB Forums. We don’t have any recent Schmitz Park reports, but we do have these three:

EARLY-MORNING SIGHTING: Dave e-mailed to report a coyote seen early Thursday, “Avalon and 32nd at 7:00 am.”

MID-AFTERNOON SIGHTING: Trileigh Tucker photographed this coyote in her yard:

2016-7-6-7039-Coyote in yard

Trileigh lives near Lincoln Park.

EAST ADMIRAL SIGHTING: And via Twitter: “Spotted a young adult coyote eating apples that fell from a tree in the alley at Andover between 35th & 34th Ave SW.”

(photo added) Thanks to Karin for this photo of a coyote she says is the 32nd/Avalon visitor mentioned above:

20160711_155441 (1)

WSB coyote coverage is archived here. Info on co-existing with coyotes is here.

21 Replies to "West Seattle coyotes: Schmitz Park question, and sightings elsewhere"

  • dsa July 22, 2016 (8:44 pm)

    That’s a great coyote picture.

  • Chris July 22, 2016 (9:05 pm)

    That’s Don Coyote. What a looker!

  • Mike July 22, 2016 (9:18 pm)

    I have not seen a drop in the number of raccoons, they still say hello and hobblerun across 49th Ave SW at night.  If you go hang out at the upper entrance to Schmitz at around 1am you’ll see them playing poker and drinking beers. 

  • ACG July 22, 2016 (9:22 pm)

    Nita- 

    We have noticed the same thing in Fauntleroy Park with the coyotes not being audible and not as visible.  We also lost our red foxes when the coyotes moved in.  I wonder if the new generations of coyotes aren’t as sensitive to siren noise (hence not hearing them every time a siren goes by) or if they have moved on.  I have wondered the same thing as you!  Sorry I don’t have any answers!

  • AIDM July 22, 2016 (9:52 pm)

    The parks department has classified urban coyotes as off-leash dogs and has moved them to West Crest Park.  The decision was made to try to prevent trail erosion caused by these and other off-leash dogs at Schmitz park.

    • Mike July 23, 2016 (10:12 am)

      this made me giggle….although your funny post easily could become truth with the jokers that run this city.

  • bolo July 22, 2016 (11:15 pm)

    Absolutely stunning photo! I did not know coyotes hunted raccoons.

  • Brad July 23, 2016 (1:46 am)

    Coyotes, Raccoons, Rats, Mice, Yellow Jackets, (and in some places, Bears, Mountain Goats, and Cougars). these are all creatures that serve a purpose and should be allowed to live – but not in human’s domain.  They need to be removed and relocated.  Their existence is not compatible with humans and since humans are not going to move, that’s it.  No matter what your beliefs might be, this is reality.   So you must work within those boundaries.  

    • datamuse July 23, 2016 (6:57 am)

      Did you know that there were hardly *any* coyotes in the Pacific Northwest before there were cities here? This environment is tailor made for them. Good luck getting rid of them–and watch the rat and mouse populations explode as a result.

    • ltfd July 23, 2016 (1:50 pm)

      Brad – Worrying
      about domestic animal bites/attacks makes sense; worrying about coyotes doesn’t make much
      sense.
      .
      Dog bites – how big is the problem? According to the CDC:
      – About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
      – Almost one in five of those who are bitten, a total of 885,000, require
      medical attention for dog bite-related injuries.
      – In 2006, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result
      of being bitten by dogs.
      .
      Coyote attacks? According to one study (Coyote Attacks on Humans in the United
      States and Canada, White & Gehrt, 2009), there were 142 coyote “attacks”
      resulting in 159 victims bitten over a period of 46 years, 1960-2006. That’s
      about 3 per year. More good information can be found here-
      http://www.rockies.ca/coyotes/ecology.php
      .
      You should be much more worried about being struck by lightning than being
      attacked by a coyote. In the U.S. there are annually an estimated 360 injuries
      and 40 lightning fatalities (noaa.gov). Compare that to 3 coyote attacks per
      year and then to 4.5 million annual dog bites causing 30,000+ people to need
      surgery.
      .
      Life is short. Worry about dogs, then lightning, then coyotes.

  • Brad July 23, 2016 (1:48 am)

    They hunt dogs and cats – who we care for like our children.  They need to go, now!

    • Mike July 23, 2016 (10:16 am)

      No, they don’t hunt dogs and cats.  They are scavengers.  If you are dumb enough to leave your pet out alone unattended, that’s your fault for not caring for your pet.  You know those Bald Eagles flying around???  They’ll carry away a small dog and eat it, enjoy your day!

  • Andy July 23, 2016 (4:06 am)

    Years ago I used to see red foxes from time to time, often in the alley behind my house. Coyotes are not indigenous and have wiped out the red fox population.  I wish there were more support for removing the coyotes, as difficult as that might be.

  • Marianne July 23, 2016 (7:38 am)

    Brad-That is really funny! Are you volunteering to relocate rats, mice, and yellow jackets? It would be quite a site. Personally I think all creatures, including people, can coexist.

    • Mike July 23, 2016 (10:17 am)

      I’d prefer to remove the Brads.

  • Joan July 23, 2016 (8:53 am)

    No point in “removing” or relocating coyotes. More will just move in. Like wolves, who are repopulating places where there is a void.

    I too noticed that I have not seen nor heard coyotes in a couple years in our neighborhood.

  • nievealittle July 23, 2016 (11:01 am)

    I agree with Mike but not in the “point my finger in your chest way” 

  • wsea98116 July 23, 2016 (11:15 am)

    Could someone relocate the crows, please!? Or, at least the ones loudly complaining every morning at 6am..

  • JayDee July 23, 2016 (1:30 pm)

    Our neighborhood may not have brads, but at least a pair of bunnies have taken up residence in a few of the neighbor’s yards, including mine.  56th between Hanford and Spokane and figured they’d be coyote bait or eagle food.  They are still here despite Schmitz park being a stone’s throw away.

    I make sure my cats remain indoors.

  • Rebecca July 24, 2016 (4:49 pm)

    Brad is correct: they do hunt your pets. They also did kill the foxes (I remember finding one of them in the park when the coyotes arrived).  Any rancher will tell you coyotes are not just scavengers, but active hunters. Unfortunately, ignorant city-dwellers who thought they were just puppies living outside fed these animals, erasing their fear of humans and encouraging them to come into contact with humans. This pack attacked a dog on a leash on someone’s porch (so, sorry, it’s not just “dumb” people who leave their pets unattended). Honestly people, stop feeding them. Scare them away when you see them, so they know people are not okay to be around.  And stop blaming people for not wanting their dog ripped to shreds right in front of them.

    • Mike July 24, 2016 (8:29 pm)

      Coyotes attacked in a pack right next to a person with their dog on their leash?  You sure about that?

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