Thanks to Edith Blackwell of Falls Church, Virginia (a suburb outside of Washington, D.C.) for sending us this great photo of a coyote in her backyard! She set up a trail camera back there, and often gets shots of both coyotes and red foxes. In some places, coyotes exclude red foxes from their territories, but this anecdotally demonstrates that this isn't always the case in at least parts of the DMV, at least for now. The District Coyote Project is hoping to further investigate the interactions between all of our native canids: coyotes, red foxes, and the often-elusive gray foxes.
Photo courtesy of Charlestown RiverDogs
The RiverDogs, a Charlestown minor league baseball team, was visited by a gray fox during a game a couple of weeks ago. This happened back in 2016 on a fairly regular basis, but s/he didn't show up last year (if it is the same fox).
This time around, immediately after the fox showed up, the RiverDog's shortstop Wilkerman Garcia hit a walk-off home run in extra innings. Gray foxes are generally shy animals that avoid contact with humans, so this is an extra-special sighting.
WTOP recently reported on the death of a pet dog in Annandale, which officials believe is due to a coyote. The dog (a small Maltese) was outside in the backyard alone, and a coyote had been seen in the area. It's important to monitor small dogs and cats when they are outside, and to keep larger dogs on leash, especially in areas where coyotes have been spotted. As noted in the story by Kevin Rose, a wildlife biologist with Virginia, it's also important to reduce and eliminate attractants in our backyard that can inadvertently lure coyotes close to our houses (open compost piles, unsecured pet food, garbage, etc.), and to haze coyotes so that they remain scared of humans (see our Humans and Coyotes page for more information on hazing and other ways to prevent conflict!). Losing a pet for any reason is painful, and it's up to all of us to help keep both our own pets and our neighbor's pets safe.
District Coyote Project team member Megan Draheim was recently interviewed for the Michigan Radio (and NPR affiliate) show Stateside about an article she wrote for The Conversation, discussing the ineffective use of lethal control to protect livestock from coyotes. Research is increasingly demonstrating that lethal control does not decrease predation, and can even increase it, and we see a similar situation in urban areas where lethal control does not effectively decrease human-coyote conflict. Instead, focusing on changing human behavior and using non-lethal methods such as hazing can increase the capacity of communities to live without conflict with their local coyote population.