Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Now that I'm spending more time in the country I'm getting to know where I live. Last night as I was drifting off to sleep a coyote got to whooping and hollering, seemingly just outside my window. It gave a complicated performance consisting of rhythmic yelps and howls that broke upward in the middle by a diminished fifth. (The Devil's interval, banned by the medieval church.) The concert lasted two or three minutes, with the pattern of yelps and howls varying throughout. Later, after midnight, presumably a different individual, or at least it was a different song, somewhat farther away, gave a brief, simple performance consisting of four howls with slight downward inflection.

They apparently do this to tell other males to stay out of their territory, and invite the females in if they are so inclined. (When I try it it doesn't seem to work.) But for a predator to announce its presence so assertively seems awfully sporting. As I say, the turkeys can fly up into the trees.


kathy a. said...

cool. we had coyotes in the hills and canyons behind my college, so i remember the sounds well, especially from the dorm near the top of the hill. my 21st birthday was in the summer, and basically nobody was there except the yearbook staff, trying to make deadline; that night, a family of coyotes trotted past on the quad. they pretended not to notice us.

roger said...

coyotes sometimes gather in bunches to howl together. it sound at times as if they are laughing.

we have barely heard a coyote once so far in our new home.

C. Corax said...

Sooner or later, you'll hear one give a howl that's distinctly wolf-like. I heard one once; it's amazing!

Cervantes said...

Yes C, well I'm assuming these were coyotes based on what is generally believed to exist around here. But as one who saw a cougar with his own baby blues, I always keep an open mind.