Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cheap Entertainment

The coyotes have been incredibly entertaining this winter. There are at least four of them that show up almost every day and usually several times during the day. I don't know when they sleep as we hear them howling all night and they seem to hunt during most of the daylight hours. They have a perimeter that is about an eighth of a mile from the house in any direction and they are really bold at that distance. They will sit on the ridge and watch Ken and I working outside without any sign of fear. Occasionally they will come in closer, like this one in the photo to the left, and then they are much more wary of our movements. It is pretty obvious they have figured out we are unlikely to shoot them.
The entertainment comes in watching them hunt. They work as a team and have some pretty intelligent strategies. Most of the time I am cheering for the bunnies, and most of the time the bunnies get away unharmed, but , of course, the dogs have to eat to survive too. I hope they are controlling the rodent population by munching on mice and pack rats.
I am not concerned for the coyotes as a threat to the llamas. It is pretty clear who has the upper hand in that battle. The chickens are not a worry either as their coop is situated in the middle of the llama corral. The only real concern is for Frank the cat. He has a healthy fear of the coyotes and will run for the house, furred up to three times his normal size, if he hears theirs howls at any distance. The worry is that chance meeting when the coyotes are too close and Frank is wandering too far. I try to keep pretty close tabs on him but it gets more difficult as the warmer weather moves in.

I woke the other morning to a new horizon line of mountains in the distance. They were mountains of mist and didn't last long but it was interesting to see the landscape with a feature other than those we have grown used to.

We have had an unusual visitor each of the last two mornings. I feed about 10 lbs of bird seed a day and the usual diners come flocking in at the sound of my voice. It is probably just coincidence but both yesterday and the day before I have stood by the feeder giving my usual invite only to look up at a bald eagle circling low overhead. I can't imagine what he is looking for as there is not much fitting his dietary preferences available here, but he is certainly a thrill to watch. The two resident golden eagles have been around every day for weeks and are acting a little strange, hunting right up to dusk each day. Ken thinks they have a nest going. That would be great as it has been about three years since we have seen three eagles flying around all summer.

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