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Chicago’s Coyotes

December 8, 2010

Chicago, my wonderful hometown, is home to the largest urban coyote study ever. Dr. Stan Gehrt has been running the project for the last decade, and he and his team have really broadened our understanding of how these fascinating canines can adapt to a human-dominated world. My own research focuses on urban/suburban coyotes, so his work has always been particularly interesting to me.

(c) marya (emdot) from San Luis Obispo, USA

Recently, a video captured a coyote running down State Street in downtown Chicago late at night (this happened to be one of the study’s radio-collared coyotes). The police and other officials have stated that the coyote was supposed to be there, and in fact is doing a service by eating rodents (insert joke about coyotes being recently hired city employees, of course!).

This NPR blog is a great run-down of the study, although I would also suggest visiting the study’s site. The video is truly fantastic, and shows just how graceful these animals are. We of course have coyotes in DC as well. A few years ago, I was out with the dogs late one January night, right after an ice storm. I had been slipping and sliding around with the pups, and after I put them back inside I went to sprinkle some dog-friendly “salt” on our front steps so that I wouldn’t break a leg the next morning. On the other side of our storm door, the dogs perked their ears up at something behind me, and I turned around to see a coyote effortlessly trotting uphill on the other side of the street. Beautiful.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ethologist permalink
    December 9, 2010 12:04 am

    Good post! Glad to see the city of Chicago welcoming coyotes!

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