Casually glancing out of the front window, I wondered which of our dogs had jumped out of the dog-run this time. He looked just so familiar. Cody's color, Frodo's ears, Laika's shape....
Well, none of our dogs, but he turned and walked very confidently towards the house. There is a bird bath and a place with bird seeds under our big Ironwood tree.
That's a huge, well-fed coyote, Canis latrans. According to some literature, Coyotes found in low deserts and valleys weigh about 20 pounds, less than half of their mountain kin, who can weigh up to 50 pounds. Desert coyotes are light gray or tan with a black tip on the tail. The description at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum allows for at least 35 pounds, but I always thought that that referred mainly to their own over-fed specimen.
|Coyote, Canis latrans|
January is mating season for the coyotes, and I lately I have been especially careful not to run into playful couples when I'm driving. Since his first visit, I have seen this guy around several times. When he first appeared during last weeks hard freeze he seemed to be searching for water closer to the house after he found the birdbath down the driveway frozen solid. But I have also found chicken feathers along his trail, so he has found a rich, but dangerous source of food in the neighborhood....
|Sorry for the for-shortened legs. I was shooting down from the window|
|Coyotes are often watching us when we are walking|
This is one of my earliest Arizona watercolors, after a coyote encounter at Gates Pass in the Tucson Mountains. I was still so fascinated with chollas, ocotillos, prickly pears and volcanic dikes that they all got equal consideration and sharp focus in my painting. Even the dreaded buffelgrass got its due (I didn't know anything about it then).