31 minutes ago
February 09, 2009
Coyote Howls and Guardian Angels
This is a recording of the coyotes yipping and howling at dusk on our farm. This is an every day occurrence at night and especially at dusk on our farm. Their yips and howls are actually quite loud and near by, but for some reason my camera did not record them nearly as loud as they actually were while standing on my back porch. So turn the volume way up. The barking that can be heard over the coyotes on the video is our livestock guardian dogs hard at work doing their job of warning the coyotes away from the goat pastures.
According to Davidson College, "Coyotes have at least three different types of vocalizations used in various situations. The first call is lone howling done by a single coyote. Lone howling lasts a long period of time and has a higher pitch compared to the other types of calls. This call is thought to be a type of communication by lost or separated members of a pack. The second type of vocalization is group howling. This type of call is characterized by several coyotes each giving a lone howl at the same time. The third type of vocalization is the group-yip howl. The group-yip howl is identified by patterned high intensity yips and howls performed by multiple coyotes in a group. Both the group howling and group-yip howling appear to serve the same functions. One function is to advertise the location of the group’s territory and the second is to coordinate group hunting strategies. By announcing the general area of a coyote pack’s territory they can reduce the risk of encountering another pack of coyotes which may result in a violent and costly fight.
Coyotes are always going to be a challenge for people like me that raise goats, sheep or other livestock but I have given myself an advantage over the predators by putting some real life guardian angels on the farm's payroll. These protectors of the herd work for just food, board and the occasional bonus pat on the head. Meet the hardest working and most important animals on the farm, our Great Pyrenees dogs.
This is Dreyfus...aka "The Babysitter", because well, he usually ends up babysitting the baby goats. He is amazingly tolerant of bouncy baby goats jumping on him while he tries to nap, but he is all business when it comes to patrolling the fence and keeping coyotes and other predators away from his charges and his territory.
This is his backup, meet the ever watchful mother and daughter team that is Abby and Bayla. Abby is the mom and the smaller one sitting down in this picture. Even though Abby is the smallest of our livestock guardian dogs at 90 lbs...this "little" girl is all heart, she doesn't back down from anything or anyone but she also has a soft side for any farm baby. She loves the baby goats, watching over them from birth and making sure all baby goat faces and bottoms are clean on this farm.
Bayla is an Abby & Dreyfus daughter and the dog that is standing up in this picture. Bayla was born and raised on our farm. She was born with lots of great natural guardian instinct from her parents and what she wasn't born with she learned from her mother and father in the goat pasture. I have watched her grow from a fat little puppy into a truly great guardian I can trust the very lives of our goats too.
Coyote picture courtesy of Cal Poly land. edu