West Seattle, Washington
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:
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:
We just happened to be at the West Seattle Farmers Market an hour or so ago when a text came in (206-293-6302, any time) with that photo of a coyote spotted nearby, by Hope Lutheran (42nd/41st/Oregon). No telling whether the coyote was trying to find its way to the market, church, or somewhere else, but yet another reminder that they live among us and they’re out in the daytime too. The best advice from the state’s excellent infoguide is to scare them away if you see them; our texter said a passing car had already done that.
Our two most recent reader reports about West Seattle coyote sightings both included photos:
First, Aimee sent that photo tonight, saying:
Just wanted to give North Admiral neighbors a heads up of a coyote I saw this afternoon. The coyote crossed California heading east on Hill Street. Sorry the picture is not the best, he was fast.
We also had this in queue from Lori‘s Fauntlee Hills sighting last week:
She saw the coyote running through her backyard at 9:15 in the morning and thought it had been hanging around that area for some days.
Wondering what to do if you see one? Best thing to do is to scare it away – coexistence depends on us and them keeping apart – as explained on this state Department of Fish and Wildlife infopage.
Thanks to Krista Livingston for the photo and report:
This coyote was jumping around, playing in our yard (edge of Schmitz Park) at Charlestown and 52nd Ave SW. I know you get lots of sightings. Thought the neighbors would like to know the coyotes are out day and night.
If you scroll through our archive of coyote sightings, you will definitely be able to verify that. And if you do see one, please remember that the best thing to do for your sake and theirs is to scare it away – as explained in the state’s one-sheet about coexisting with coyotes.
Last night when I got home there was a coyote eating something in my backyard. I beat on the windows and scared it away (for a minute) before it returned to get the meal it had left behind. Unfortunately, it looks like he may have gotten a neighborhood pet, like a tortoiseshell-color cat. Since it was getting dark then, I will check the yard today for any collars or identifying information. Please encourage your readers to keep their pets inside. This coyote is much bigger than the others that seem to visit my back yard on a weekly basis. If anyone has ideas on what can be put down to keep them away, I’d love to know what would do it. I live on the Alki hillside on Lander.
The state’s main advice in the coyote chapter of its “Living With Wildlife” series is to reduce food sources – don’t leave pet food out, let alone pets – as well as scaring them away if you see them, not just with noise, but even with throwing rocks or sticks if within range.
Two sightings your West Seattle neighbors wanted to share:
NEAR MORGAN JUNCTION: Brandon just e-mailed this:
Just wanted to report that I ran into a coyote this morning while walking the dogs, in case it is news. It came out of the alley between Mills and Willow, headed across Fauntleroy and headed down Willow [map] toward Pelly Place. It was around 7:30 this morning. My wife thought that cat owners would like to know.
MID-DELRIDGE: Sunday night, a texter reported a “coyote sighting at 24th and Myrtle [map] – our first sighting in 2 years living here.”
Just because you haven’t seen one doesn’t mean they’re not around – scroll through our archives for years of sightings (many with photos). We share them to be sure everyone’s aware they share our city (among others). Most important thing you can do if you see one is to scare it away – coexistence requires a healthy distance – lots more info on that can be found in this state-produced one-sheet.
Thanks to Steven for sharing that photo, taken around 2:30 pm from a condo window in the 1200 block of Alki Avenue SW, looking at the hillside behind the building.
Not necessarily applicable when you’re viewing from inside your home, but remember that the best thing to do if and when you see one is to try to scare it away, for its sake as well as yours. Read more in the State Fish and Wildlife Department’s “Living with Coyotes” guide.
Where else have West Seattleites seen coyotes? Almost everywhere. Check our archive here.
(Added: Coyote photographed by Heidi near 37th/Hinds on Saturday)
4:25 PM: In recent days, we’ve published reports of coyote sightings in the greater Admiral area. Two more today, and they mention a coyote attacking a cat and possibly a chicken. One report is from 42nd/Bradford/Charlestown area, another from 44th and Spokane, no pictures with either so we don’t know if it’s the same one. One chicken is missing, possibly fleeing from the coyote – we’ll add the chicken’s photo shortly, as well as a photo of a coyote seen in the 37th/Hinds area on Saturday.
4:39 PM: Before we could even add the photo of “Big Mama” the chicken, we got another text saying she’s back and all the chickens are OK after all. Our coyote-sighting reports are archived here, newest-to-oldest.)
6:36 PM: A neighbor texted to say the coyote’s still in the area and headed toward California SW on Spokane at last report. If you still haven’t read this despite all the times we’ve linked it – scroll to the “Coyotes Too Close For Comfort?” advice. Trying to scare it away remains the best thing you can do for it as well as for potential prey in the area.
— Dave Stockman (@dbstock) December 31, 2015
ORIGINAL REPORT, 1:07 PM: That’s video just tweeted by Dave from SW Spokane Street, another midday sighting. We’ve published several reports recently (archived with seven-plus years of coyote news on WSB), but video is relatively rare, even in this time of ubiquitous video capability. Our customary link: What you should know about coyotes, including how to increase the chances we and they can keep a healthy distance from each other. And if you want it a bit more bluntly – here’s our 2013 story on what a federal wildlife agent wants you to know.
P.S. Coyote reports often inspire us to check around online to see what’s happening in other cities. We just found this notable report from Los Angeles, where a federal researcher – described, however, as “unfunded” – has been using GPS collars to track urban coyotes.
ADDED 9:45 PM: Another clip – this time from Ted Johnson, recorded at a bluffside home in west Admiral at sunset:
Yes, coyotes do emerge in the daytime. The photo is courtesy of Michael, who says, “Just saw this guy at 12:30 at 35th and Hinds!! End of 35th arterial.” [map] We also had a text about this time Saturday, mentioning one seen “running down at Admiral at 53rd.” Though they’re believed to do most hunting at night, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s “Living With Coyotes” one-sheet advises they do go out in daylight if they’re hungry. Remember, authorities advise that the best way to encourage them to keep their distance is to do your best to “haze” them if you see them – yell, wave your arms, throw rocks.
Archived WSB coyote reports are here, newest to oldest.
We publish reader reports about coyote sightings periodically, with educational intent as much as anything. Within the past half-hour, we received a text (on our 24/7 hotline, 206-293-6302) from someone saying there are “coyotes in the yards at 52nd/Charlestown.” Too dark for a photo, the texter says. Meantime, back on Monday, here’s what Rose saw:
First time I have seen a coyote traveling the open streets and sidewalks in broad daylight. This one looks like it has either completely shed all its fur or it has mange. Came up 39th and turned onto Lander Street cruising the neighborhood. I know for sure it was a coyote because my cat Manitou, who happened to be outside at the time, froze until he went by across the street, then ran like greased lightning for the back door and wanted IN with a very bushed tail. Wise cat, and something he never does about dog.
If you haven’t read this information about coexisting with coyotes before – it’s worth a look. Most important advice: If you see one, do what you can to scare it away, for its sake and yours – yell, wave your arms to look “big,” even throw rocks.
Two sightings from Saturday, one with photos. First, from Karen in Arbor Heights:
This was taken in front of my neighbor’s house on 98th Ave SW between 37th & 39th (our backyards border Fauntleroy Park). This was my (indoor cat’s) first sighting of the year but normally we have a lot around here starting in October. I assume the warmer weather kept them away?
This coyote had black & gray fur but as you can see, they have lost (molted?) most of it so it must be freezing. At one point, he/she looked like a sweet fawn but I the doubt dog walkers thought that.
People stop & always are surprised they come out during the day. I see them head into the woods at night but I normally see them galloping all over the neighborhood during the day.
Hopefully, the family of seven raccoons living in my storm water drain stays safe (swimming in my community pool).
I have a virtual varmint zoo growing out of my backyard.
She said the coyote showed up around 1 pm on Saturday.
Via text, we received a report a few hours after that: “Very sick, mangy-looking coyote walking west on Thistle near 35th. Just now, very brave, must be desperate for food or warmth.”
Here again is the state’s info-sheet about coyotes and co-existing with them. Our online research suggests the fur problem would be more likely mange than molting, as the latter generally involves shedding winter coats when the weather warms up.
Suddenly we have three coyote reports to share – so here goes.
FROM JAF: A coyote crossed 35th SW at Brandon “at approximately 2 pm on 10/27. Poor thing ran east across 35th in traffic to get away from me (pulling in garbage cans). Luckily, cars stopped for it.”
Not long before that, and not too far away:
FROM JOHN … who included this photo:
He saw that coyote “at the corner of 37th and Graham, 1:20 pm today.”
And this happened around 11:30 last night:
FROM JOEY: “Coyote spotted on 34th running toward Barton and the P-Patch. On its way, it attacked a small animal (cat?). Horrible sounds. Little animal got away and ran toward west side of 34th.”
(The most important thing you can do if you see a coyote, the state reminds us on this info-sheet, is to scare it away – for its sake, for your sake, for pets’ sake. They’re everywhere – but they’ll keep their distance if they perceive it’s too risky to get close.)
The photo and report are from Sid:
I was having coffee this morning and saw a coyote stroll across my backyard. We live close to Seola Park. It walked around the side of the house and when I opened the door, it ran away into Marine View Drive.
We have long published coyote-sighting reports to help with education and awareness. The most important thing you can do if you see one is actively scare it away – “hazing” is how experts describe it – wave your arms, throw rocks, etc. They live among us but coexistence depends on them keeping their distance. See the state’s “Living With Wildlife” page on coyotes for more info. (Archived WSB coverage is here.)
Just in via text (206-293-6302, 24/7), our first coyote report of the fall:
Just spotted a large coyote in the street on SW Thistle, near the alley between 24th & 25th Ave. I slowed down thinking it was a stray dog, then watched it go into the walkways in between the apt buildings there. Just want to spread the word since it’s in a highly populated area.
As also noted in our exchange with the texter, that’s across the street from the stretch of Longfellow Creek that runs east of the Chief Sealth International High School/Denny International Middle School campus. But coyotes can turn up anywhere, whether a greenbelt is nearby or not – just browse our eight-plus-year archive of sighting reports for ample evidence of that. When you see one, do your best to scare it away – more for its good than yours – as explained here.
Our latest sighting report is from Kristen, who saw one right about this time Monday:
I checked the blog and saw a posting from a few weeks ago that coyotes were heard in Schmitz Park. I heard them (Sunday) night as well. When I opened the door to go to the car at 5:30 am (Monday) morning, I saw one run down SW Forney Street and into the park. I walked my (large) dogs soon after and had no issues. I did want to report as there are neighbors in our area with small dogs and cats.
Remember – best thing to do if you see a coyote is to scare it away – it’s optimal for all involved if they remain wary of humans – as explained here.
Our tipster in Sunrise Heights took this photo from a distance – which is good, as getting too close to a coyote isn’t good for them or you, not because of danger, but because you don’t want them to get acclimated to close human contact – so it’s a bit blurry, but they wanted you to know about the sighting earlier this afternoon, near 29th and Othello (map). To make sure you know what to do if you see a coyote, check out the coexistence advice from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Meantime, browse our coyote-report coverage over the years, newest to oldest, on these archive pages.
Just out of the WSB inbox from Bob:
I just wanted to let you know the coyotes in Schmitz Park have very vocal the past two nights. We have not seen them yet but our dog has been on alert in the back yard. You might want to let the neighbors know to watch their cats and small pets.
We share coyote reports when we get them, not to be alarmist, but because not everyone realizes they live among us, and if you realize that they do, you have a better chance of taking measures to ensure we and they stay a healthy distance apart. This info from the state can help.
In our seven-plus years of reporting on West Seattle coyotes, we’ve heard people often mention they bring outdoor cats inside at night, in hopes of avoiding coyote encounters. This report from Jaime is a reminder that coyotes roam in the daytime too:
I thought I should report this to the blog, even if not sure of proper procedure.
My neighbor reported to me that just last week after hearing a commotion outside his porch, opened his front door to find a young coyote who had the family cat in his mouth. He immediately yelled and tried to scare the coyote away, which did cause the coyote to drop the cat. But the cat was badly injured and subsequently died.
This was in the middle of the daytime at 50th and Hudson. My neighbor believed that the coyote had entered from the alley into their fenced front yard and grabbed the cat, who was sunning himself on their porch.
Biologists who have analyzed coyotes’ diets say this is only a small part of what they eat – more commonly, they consume rats and mice, among other things you can see listed here – but nonetheless, it can be a risk if your pet is outside, unattended, so we publish this as a neighbor-to-neighbors alert. (A wildlife agent was blunt about it in this report we published two years ago.)
GATEWOOD REPORT #2: Not far from there, at 36th/Myrtle (map), Eugene reports: “3 pm today. Walking up Myrtle street in broad daylight. Maybe it’s not news anymore. But it looked like a chupacabra with fur so I thought I’d mention it.”
PUGET RIDGE: Forwarded from a neighborhood list, a sighting at midmorning today near 21st/Dawson (map).
Three daytime coyote sightings have been reported in the past day and a half, starting with the one texted with that photo along SW Rose in Gatewood. Then this afternoon, in the span of half an hour, Vanessa e-mailed word of one in an alley between 36th and 37th and Findlay – “thin, scared-looking,” she said – followed by Christine‘s note, saying, “Just wanted to let you know that there have been two coyote sightings in our neighborhood (38th and Morgan) on Saturday, Feb. 14th and today, Monday, Feb. 16th. Both sightings occurred around 1:30 pm.” It’s mating season for coyotes, and experts say that tends to increase their daytime activity. Find out more about coyote behavior – and how to help ensure they and we keep our distance from each other – via this state Department of Fish and Wildlife webpage; if you don’t have time to read through it, short version – if one gets too close, scare it away. And don’t leave food out.
Don’t know if it’s the same coyote, but two people reported sightings in the same general area of Gatewood/Upper Morgan (map) this afternoon. The photo is from John, who e-mailed to say: “Just took this pic this afternoon on Willow, between 39th and 38th. I was walking my dog and this coyote ran out in front of us, crossing the street into the backyard in the alley.” We also got a phone call from someone who reported seeing a coyote on SW Frontenac between 39th and 40th, headed east, around 4 pm. Our most recent round of sighting reports was Gatewood-centric, too. Remember that as advised by wildlife experts, best thing to do if you see one is to try your hardest to scare it away.