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The City at Night

January 13, 2012

It’s always nice to get a reminder of how lucky I am to live in an urban area that’s so rich with wildlife. Since many critters stay hidden during the day, some of my favorite sightings (and “hearings”) have been late (very late) at night, especially if I’m out walking the dogs. For example, I never would have been out right after an ice storm at 1:30 in the morning if it weren’t for the dogs, but that’s how I saw my first wild coyote. We had been slipping-and-sliding up and down our hill on an abbreviated walk, and when I put them inside I went back out with some pet-friendly “salt” to lay down on our front walk. The dogs had pushed open the door and were watching me through the storm door, when suddenly their ears pricked up and they started to stare intensely at something behind me. I turned and saw this gorgeous coyote trotting up the hill across the street from our house — just gliding along effortlessly (as a reminder, the dogs and I had not been nearly as graceful trying to navigate the sidewalk moments before!).

Just a few nights ago I heard a red fox calling late at night (for those of you who have never heard a red

(c) MMD, 2011

fox, they can sound eerily like a woman screaming), and a month or two ago a red fox flew across the street in front of us, going from one wooded area behind some houses towards a park a few blocks away.

We’ve seen deer aplenty, of course — deer peeking out of neighbors’ backyards, deer grazing on front lawns, deer ambling across streets. And opossums and racoons. But my favorite late-night sightings are the wild predators who share our neighborhood. It’s a different way to experience urban wildlife, when they can take more ownership of the land than in the middle of the day when there are lots of people around. And it’s a reminder that we do share the land with them — it is theirs just as much as it is ours.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2012 9:19 am

    So pleased to have discovered your blog. Writing from the heart of Manhattan Island, I too am obsessed with urban wildlife. And even here, we have the occasional coyote sighting. In 2010, a young female used a portion of Central Park as her base for a month, heading out into the park and the city streets at night. She was finally captured down in Tribeca, and released somewhere within city limits. The Bronx, which is on the mainland, has a breeding population of coyotes, and they are being seen with some frequency in Queens, as well. Fascinating animals! We also have raccoons, opossums, skunks, and plenty of raptors.

  2. March 14, 2012 1:39 pm

    Hi! I lived in Manhattan for a while, and have fond memories of Central and Riverside Parks, amongst other nature spots. I absolutely love that wildlife can be found in the heart of some of our country’s most built landscapes. I’m looking forward to reading more about your urban wildlife adventures, too!

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