Holler Creatures~

Look at those ears! This watcher caught me unaware through the window at dawn. I shot him through double paned glass in the rain. Holler coyotes are quite bold now, coming through our fences before dawn and hanging out. This is a sub-adult, so I suspect he dug under the fences.

You can see he is bold, made and held eye contact, even while I grabbed my camera case, pulled out my camera, removed the lens cap, and got a few shots.

Since he didn’t back off, I opened the door, and walked after him. He sashayed off after I yelled.

This guy in Death Valley also stood his ground, but he was not challenging, more interested.

He sashayed off too.

These are more Holler sub-adult coyote siblings. The one who stared at me also has a sibling. All four are about the same age, sub-adult.

This is an adult. Coyotes and Grey Wolves may be the only ‘pure’ wild canine species still surviving in North America. Most other wolf species have at least some coyote DNA.

Red Wolves, for example, share 75% of their DNA with coyotes. For more on this read: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/distinctions-blur-between-wolf-species#:~:text=Red%20wolves%20contain%20about%2075,to%2050%20percent%20coyote%20ancestry.

There are also a lot of Ceonothus Silk Moths at The Holler right now. Ceonothus is lilac. We live in Lilac California, named after the wild lilacs that grow profusely here. Ceonothus Moths lay their eggs on wild lilac. They have a wing span of up to five inches, have no mouth, live only a matter of days and only live to reproduce.

They are calm and beautiful creatures who are not afraid of humans.

Cheers to you from The Holler Creatures~

221 thoughts on “Holler Creatures~

  1. OH what a great shot.. and that defiant stare lol… ‘ I will saunter off when I feel like it ‘ lol…. Great set of photo shots Cindy… Thank you.. and I didn’t know that about the Coyote and Wolf DNA… I live and learn…. Which is what I love to do.. πŸ™‚ <3

    1. So happy you enjoyed Margaret. Ceonothus moths are not raised for silk production. They do make silk cocoons, but since they are rather rare, no one that I know of harvests them.

  2. Coming from the Canadian prairies I am well aware of coyotes. These are handsome devils. Ours were a bit more mangy looking and kept their distance. That first picture is priceless.

  3. Coyotes are so intelligent and adaptable! 🀎 I love and admire them, but I also remind myself to be wary. Thank you for the close-up views of their graceful and sinewy forms! Oh, and that moth is truly stunning! 😍

    1. Their mouths are huge. I had a friend who rescued wolves. Wolf jaws are even bigger, but so similar and so powerful. Coyotoes are the most incredibly adaptive wild creatures. They live in Central Park. One took the subway! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  4. There are lots of coyotes here in rural N.M. I’ve even seen them running across the main road going through Taos, in the middle of the day! I find it heartening that there are native species of animals that actually adapt to human incursion and thrive.

    1. Yes. It is true that we can co-exist. We live in a rural area, next to a large nature preserve. It was a steep learning curve when I first moved here 15 years ago. I moved here for just the reasons you state. I love the wild spaces and wild faces!

  5. Hi Cindy, we have wild foxes living in our area, coyotes too and then there are the coye-wolves. Certain people are feeding them which is a big mistake. I worry about the children in our neighbourhood as well as pets. This is suburban area and we have a valley with streams running through it. Over development is forcing the wild life out into the community.

    1. I hear you. Human fed coyotes can be quite dangerous. We live in a rural area with thousands of empty acres around us. My 4 year old twin grandsons are here constantly and my cat Herbert lives here. We have multiple coyote packs. So I am very wary. This new litter of pups are coming through our fences daily which is new and concerning behavior. I am going to use my marine air horn next time I see them inside the fences. They don’t like the horrendous noise.

      1. The marine air horn sounds like a good idea. Also, I know you’ll already do this, constant vigilance for your grandsons and your cat. We’ve had cats disappear here. No doubt they were lunch for the critters.

    1. Yes, and I love it! The packs howl at each other, and pups that are ejected from the packs, make heartbreaking lonely howls. They remind me of the wolves in The Grand Tetons when I was a child. I don’t hear the wolves there anymore which is so sad.

    1. They are some of the most adaptive creatures I have encountered. They live in such averse environments, from Death Valley to New York City! Amazingly resilient creatures.

  6. The coyote is an interesting animal Cindy, are there ever reports of them attacking children or domestic animals or even adults? They may be like our Dingo wild dogs.

    1. Yes, to all three. There is a website run by The University of California that keeps tracks of all encounters and attacks. It is: https://ucanr.edu/sites/CoyoteCacher/
      Lately, there has been an uptick in coyote attacks in Southern California in the suburbs involving children and even leashed pets. In a recent incident, a mother, who I think was a surgeon, was unloading groceries from her car trunk. Her toddler was right behind her. The child screamed as the coyote attacked, and the mother was able to save her child. I am very aware of this as my 4 year old twin grandsons are here all the time. I watch them like a hawk! Coyotes do very much remind me of Dingos when I saw them in Australia. Like Dingos, coyotes run in packs at The Holler and we have scores of them. A surveyor told me a story about when he was working here out alone. A coyote pack spotted prey and went after it full tilt. The suveyor was in their path. He got knocked down as the pack essentially ran over him, but was unhurt. It definitely left a big impression on him!

  7. Those coyotes sure are cute. I guess they are … wild dogs.
    That Ceonothus Silk Moth is quite interesting. As I read about it first here, I’m naming it the Lilac Coyote Moth.
    Lilacs are my very fave flowers. The memories their beauty and scent evoke is irreplaceable.
    Thank you, Cindy!

    1. Yes, even sheep. There is more buzz though about a Mountain Lion that is attacking goats and such. He/she follows the creek that runs through the edge our property. I see the tracks, but not the lion.

    1. They are remarkable. So incredibly adaptable to so many different environments and so very intelligent. They regulate litter size in response to environmental conditions which is so remarkable when you think about it.

  8. Look at those ears! Yes indeed. Some many months back, mid-pandemic when fewer of us were about, late late one night from my small town balcony, standing still, quietly – what dog was that running wild by himself? Oh wait, shadow on shadow, look at those long pointy ears – that’s no dog. That’s a coyote. Mr. Coyote paused a moment then continue strolling down the street. In that wake, I was thrilled. Am pleased that when our eyes are closed, wild life still inhabits our world. Lucky you getting to witness so much more. Could wish I lived more in the countryside.

    I know Cindy you love birds & how oft I’ve enjoyed what you show. But honest, yea, this is wonderful and thanks for sharing furry as well feathered friends. While I’m much distant, I love seeing & sharing Monterey Bay and right now the Harbor Seals beaching themselves during birthing season. New big crowd on the beach today. Not only fascinated, but I feel honored to witness. Thanks Cindy.

  9. What a mesmerizing glimpse into your part of the world, Cindy. I don’t know which hit me harder–thinking about the tough life of the much-maligned coyotes or the mouthless moth that only lives a few days while hoping to reproduce.

          1. Well – once, many years ago, I was driving from Phoenix to Tuscon (in a rented car) and had to stop on the highway for a not-in-a-hurry coyote. I was so excited – and knew what it was because of the cartoon character. The same for the road runners and woodpeckers!

    1. Thank you for seeing their beauty Marlene. That was water for wildlife during the drought. Thankfully, they no longer need it as our creek is running fast and full.

  10. The silk moth is beautiful. A five inch wingspan is huge! How lucky you are to live in Lilac were they live. As to coyotes, they are now living in our neighborhoods, which is not their natural habitat. Something has changed. Remember when Yellowstone reintroduced wolves, and over a few years the changes that returned the park’s plants and water back to its original state? Apologies for going on, but I do wonder about coyotes.

    1. No apologies. I find your comments thought provoking. Coyotes are taking advantage of our disarray. They are so smart and so adaptable, especially when humans are not. I remember when wolves were originally in Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and I remember being sung to sleep at night as they howled from the mountains. I have seen the reintroduced wolves hunting elk in a pack and was thrilled beyond belief by the experience. It was about 11 years ago. Here is a post I did about it: https://cindyknoke.com/2012/09/18/the-wolves-rule-yellowstone-once-again/
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your interesting thoughts Jennie.

      1. That was a wonderful post. I find it most interesting that the balance of nature has returned to Yellowstone, including plants and rivers. Thank you, Cindy.

  11. So many comments on these attractive looking animals yet I have to ask, based on the pics of them drinking, if you put out water for them. As beautiful as they are, I too would not be happy with them making themselves at home in my yard with grandchildren about!

    1. The water was in the past (read before grandkids) outside the fences during our extreme drought for all the wild animals including birds. The coyotes drank from it but respected our fences. Now we’ve had a year of intense rain and California is no longer in drought, quite the opposite. We have an abundance of water and snow pack. My guess is coyote litter size increased because of these beneficial environmental conditions. They regulate litter size based on environmental conditions. So now we have more sub-adults competing for resources, hence a few bold ones, digging under the fences. We have ways to deter them without harming them which we are employing now. As you note, I am quite concerned about my grandkids and our cat Herbert. Coyotes are wild dogs in packs. I need to let them know I am an Alpha dog and won’t tolerate trespassing. We have rattlesnakes and mountain lions too. The mountain lions are very shy around people. This sounds almost like Africa doesn’t it…. Not even close! Many ranchers are now installing electric fences though, like I saw so often in Africa.

  12. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that coyotes are fascinating creatures. Like other dogs, you can almost “see” when they’re thinking. I’m worried that the Death Valley coyote may have been fed by humans before, though, since it allowed you to get so close to it.

    1. Possibly. Although having lived amongst the packs for 15 years, I can tell you that they vary distinctly in personality. Most are shy and skittish, but the coyote in these photos was unusually bold, held his ground, wasn’t scared, and appeared healthy. Sometimes sick coyotes will come near. But this guy wasn’t sick and no humans feed them out here. They are fascinating creatures and so incredibly adaptable to so many harsh conditions. Regulating their litter size is a remarkable trait. I think there are more litters here now due to the rain.

  13. Howl you doin’? Gee…I can’t think of any howl-arious puns. Spectacular shots as always, my friend! β™₯️ (⁎ βšˆα·€α· α΄— βšˆα·€α· ⁎)β™₯️

  14. We nearly never see the coyote that roam around nearby, but singing together
    is something often heard. They love making sweet melodies at all times of the
    night. We don’t see them because they prefer to stay on the other side of the tall
    grass until the middle of the night when they roam anywhere they want.
    Great photography Cindy. Those guys look well feed and healthy!

    1. This litter of pups is much more bold than prior ones. I wonder if the plentiful rain upped litter size resulting in more competition for resources. Coyotes do regulate litter size in response to environmental conditions. They just started howling now! πŸ˜‰

  15. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Holler with us. I love your photos. Those coyotes are bold. And wow – lilac country? It must smell amazing among the lilacs. β™₯.

  16. Fantastic shots, Cindy. That intense stare and those ears! We encounter coyotes in our neighborhood here in Pasadena and I keep my distance! Enjoyed this series. Happy Earth Day! πŸŒŽπŸ’š

  17. I live in a very urban area, and we have coyotes. I admire them as wild animals (and of course, they look so much like dogs that how could I not?), but I do worry about their presence in an environment that isn’t natural for them. Plus, they’ve been known to hunt and kill small pets, which is disturbing. I think finding a way to live in peace with wildlife is going to be an increasing challenge in the future.

    1. Yes. It is challenging. I have learned, and utilize very effective methods for deterring coyotes without harming them. That said, if people feed wild coyotes, they lose their fear of humans, making them quite dangerous. It is best when humans and coyotes are wary of each other.

        1. Not unless they get caught in someone’s packages, which actually happened to me with a frog from Africa to Paris. They inspect everything so carefully to prevent this, but when I opened my suitcase in Paris, one of the frogs that had been in our room in South Africa hopped happily out! I opened the window and off he went in Gay Paree! A Bald Eagle actually flew to the UK too. I think he was caught in a wind draft. They flew him back British Air, probably business class! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  18. Those coyotes would have terrified me. I shudder to think what Monkey would have done, had he come face to face with one! Still, their eyes are mesmerizing, aren’t they?

  19. Pingback: Holler Creatures~ β€” – Echoes in the Mist

  20. Coyotes are everywhere now, even in our neighborhood in NC. They are particularly noise in the spring, when the youngsters are migrating to new territory and cross another coyotes area. Two of them can sound like ten when they get going. Love your pictures – especially since getting a good view of them here is difficult.

  21. You are brave Cindy. That intimidating stare of the coyote would have had me running. We seem to have a coyote problem here in Toronto. I wonder if they came from your neck of the woods. Lol <3

  22. Oooh I love those shots of the coyotes. Wonderful creatures, but also can be dangerous (especially if you have pets). We have them here in Vancouver and there are warning signs around the city including where I hike every day. I’ve seen a few over the years – always a spellbinding moment for me. They’re pretty shy here, but if we see a big pile of fur on the trail we know someone’s pet has been coyote dinner.

  23. Wow absolutely gorgeous creatures! I see a sort of softness of curiosity in their eyes! You have amazing animals near the Holler! I am thankful they not near my house to try to chomp on my little fur kid! Tee hee! Have a super day! Your photos always delight me!

  24. How interesting about coyotes and gray wolves. I had no idea. That first young guy reminds me of the large white-tailed doe who stared back at me the other day. She and several younger does decided to browse and rest outside my art room window. At first I tried not to move and startle them, but I had to get some things ready for my next class so I moved a little. She instantly saw the movement and we gazed at each other for several seconds before she decided I was okay and calmly began to graze again. Her eyes and ears were huge, too! wildlife is so fascinating!

    1. Deers have the most soulful eyes and faces. This sounds like a peaceful and special encounter Kathy. Lovely that she trusted you. Animals tend to have a good sense of whom to trust დ

  25. We have a lot of bold coyotes living in our area as well. We have had a few small dogs killed which is too bad. They come right up to the houses and even walk down the street. A bit scary if you have a little pup.

  26. These are some incredible shots, Cindy. Coyotes have always fascinated me, and I think it is because I’ve heard so many legends about them from my friends of the Cayuse and Umatilla tribes I grew up with πŸ™‚

    1. Wonderful to hear from you Randall and thank you very much. You grew up with them? In such a beautiful part of the world? Coyotes are incredible creatures. They are like ravens. They can adapt to every environment no matter how hostile. They are the epitome of survival of the fittest. They survive in Death Valley and The Bronx! Hope all is well with you and your family my friend დ

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