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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The cast of coyotes

White-tailed pup has a big head and a long tail.

The coyote photos were far from ideal for identifying individuals.

At first all the animals look alike, but soon you recognize the immature coyotes with their big-ears and puppy-like build.

After pouring over the photos  I think I can distinguish two or three adults.

I suspect these coyotes are territory holders, a breeding pair and their offspring that hang around the cattle penned near the ranch house -- the same ones that serenade us at night.   

There were two big pups, perhaps 6 months old, that differed in tail coloration.

The one above ("big-head") has a white-tipped tail, and the black-tailed pup below seems to have a shorter tail (though it could be an illusion due to posture).

Three coyotes were lankier in build, and had adult body proportions. 

One has more black markings on the tail than two other adults. 

Its the one that was photographed attacking one of the pups.

This one has a marking on the back of the right front leg, and may be same unkempt-looking animal as the one below.

But this one looks more full-bodied and may be different. 

If we get another chance to photograph at cow carrion, I'll make sure the cameras are closer to the action. 

I don't think the IR cams (=no flash) will be necessary under such conditions. 

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