I have coyote preying on my grounds. The resident couple have produced a pup. We seldom see these folks, but they are there and we have quicky pictures to prove their settlement.
In the thirty eight years of my residency here in suburban Minneapolis , I have been able to create and maintain a beautiful classic landscape garden. We live in a climate in which winter is the major landscape season, as long as all of the other landscape seasons combined.
As a boy I noticed that. I delivered papers both morning and after school. It was an outdoor job…..Although I hated delivering papers in the winter, I loved the early mornings throughout the year….the 5 AM mornings before anyone but paper boys were prowling the streets…..except once in a long while when a coyote came to view. Fox at 5AM were fairly common, but not coyote. Fearless through ignorance, I’d drop my paper boy’s delivery bag and try to follow the creature.
We haven’t noticed coyotes anywhere in my neighborhood until three or four years ago. I had seen one in the center of Minneapolis about ten years back in the garden of a good friend of mine. It was dark winter and I had just turned into the driveway. Suddenly a coyote I distrubed looked up at me. ”He” had torn something apart which was drooping from its jaws…..and it wasn’t a plant. “He” was mangy-looking (all coyotes in my vocabulary are male unless proved otherwise), and “he,” coyote-like, grabbed his kill and ran off into the dark.
My grounds are filled with evergreen conifers……the plants of good memory when I needed them as a news delivery boy to hide behind during the wild blizzards 50 plus years ago before these wonderful days of global warming in our Northland.
Conifers come in many sizes and shapes these days. Those sizes and shapes are well displayed in my ‘paradise’. So is snow in winter…..except for this winter thus far.
Rabbits and squirrels, birds and voles used to love these conifers-of-all-sizes winter garden. Until about three years ago.
Today, only the birds still do. Actually, there are more of them of all kinds than in the past.
No longer do the rabbits and voles eat up all of the lower foliage of the arborvitaes. No longer are squirrels fighting to burrow into my house eaves to mooch off of my expensive winter heating and escape the winter winds.
Instead, I see replacement foot prints in the winter snow as I walk along my garden paths. They are dog-like, but I allow no dogs to enter my space whereever I think I rule.
My lovely garden now houses new visitors, ’Canis latrans’ the coyote, into my space, whether I like it or not. They are about the only footprints etched in the snow these days. New prints arrive with each new snow dusting or snowfall.
While searching for television something or another a few days ago, I came across an hour’s worth on the expansion of the coyote population throughout America……the America that still includes Arizona, New York , California, and Florida.
“Although assaults upon humans are rare, they do happen…..” the narrators admitted more than once. The deaths are more frequent in PARKS the Northeast….Massachusetts and New York, for instance. They noted an example of an ourdoor type gal who was a regular hiker in an urban public park. Two coyote had stalked her, had run her down and destroyed her as others in the park who had heard her screams arrived to the scene too late to save her…….and fended off the two coyote killers.
We live in a time where equality among mankind and ’other’ animals is required by some politicians and university instructors…..we must live ‘as one’ with nature. I accept this dogma, but I do believe I must add, “barely”.
I still believe the human being is sacred, out of fashioned as that may be. I am not the equal of the coyote or squirrel. I prefer me to rule in my landscape garden rather than coyote. If I have to put up with something of a lower order than I am in my paradise, I’ll go for the hungry mink, who have happened to drop by upon occasion.
The equality people, the stars of this television program on coyote, that is, the park rangers, the animal huggers who work for the state to protect wild life, and their similars, (isn’t English a terrific language) who love coyote, seem quite sincere in their warnings to the general public reminding them that coyote can be our killers.
“Don’t feed them”, they advise…..and then they move on to their coyote loving. I admit. Their ‘chicks’ ARE cute.
“Coyote have naturalized nearly everywhere throughout the United States, even on Manhattan Island in New York City”.
Rangers who keep an eye on these exploding coyote populations mark the ’cute’ beasts in their youth to follow their roamings henceforth…..your tax money at work. “They lack competition from bigger predators.” the experts announce, hinting that the timber wolf once roamed our streets widely before we had streets.
Besides “Don’t feed the animals”, here is the official message from these state officials representing urban American visits from the ever larger coyote flocks……
“When taking your nature hikes in your local parks, suburban or urban, or your landscape gardens, you should take a stick along with you……just in case.” concluding that the coyote is our human equal in the eyes of the modern educated park bureaucrats. “We must learn to live along side ‘nature’.
There was a moment the narrators offered a degree of politico-social-religious ’balance’, a brief one for sure, but an effort nevertheless. I think the setting was in Colorado, in a suburb of Denver. where a park ranger being interviewed by the coyote huggers, glanced with a hint of a wink at his power rifle when he was asked about his recommentdations for coyote control.
I enjoyed the program as you, dear readers, might have noticed from the rhythms and a embellishments of this writing.
The American has become and indoor population despite their occasional bicycle and hiking jaunts from their bureaucratic life into the great outdoors. When I was a kid most Americans worked outdoors for their living. Most owned a rifle for their outdoor business…..controlling wolves and coyote, puma and wild this or that which decimated their food supply and not infrequently some of these outdoor people as well.
Today indoor people look at animal life romantically. I do too. One of the most beautiful sites Mother Nature can cook up for me is to see the beautiful sleak cougar eyeing and plotting the kill of its prey….as long as one doesn’t romance too much of the prey’s immediate future.
I think it a tragedy that ”lions, tigers and bears”…..well not bears, yet…..are disappearing from Earth due to mankind’s ‘interference’.
In the meantime I guess I’ll have to position a few sticks for self defense, artistically placed , of course, blending them into the lines and curves of my lovely landscape garden.