Coyotes tend to hunt in pairs although small fluid packs of 5 – 6 related adults may join forces for a time. When hunting as a larger group, they will hunt larger prey and do so with coordinated effort, much like a wolf pack. Usually, coyotes prefer smaller game and so have been less of a threat to livestock, and less noticed by humans. Coyotes are opportunistic. As wolf packs are driven out of habitat, or killed off, the coyote has slipped in to fill the predatory niche. Although once a diurnal animal, continued contact with human populations has made them nocturnal. Coyotes can survive on almost anything and include rodents, rabbits, carrion, fruit, insects, vegetables and human garbage in their diet. There's been at least one coyote caught in New York City's Central Park, and a den of coyotes live in Washington D.C.'s Rock Creek Park, keeping down the vermin population and eating nearby road kill. A recent census discovered that close to 2,000 coyotes live in and around the city of Chicago. Although most humans don't realize it, it is generally coyotes that keep neighborhood rabbit populations under control. I know last year our block was, literally, hopping with rabbits. Maybe that's what brought the coyotes. Unfortunately they've turned to easier prey and the rising outrage may prove their undoing. I truly hope that doesn't happen.
Photo courtesy of Justin Johnsen.