Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Coyote

"The Coyote" will be the topic for Second Saturday at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge on April 11, 2015,  with speaker, Dr. Jessica Healy.  The program will begin at 10 am in the Visitor Center Meeting room at the Refuge.

Texas Master Naturalist Jack Chiles will lead a guided bird walk earlier that morning, at 8 am, weather permitting.  Participants will meet at the Refuge Visitor Center and will return in time for Dr. Healy’s program.  Loaner binoculars are provided by the Friends of Hagerman if needed.

Dr. Healy joined the sciences faculty at Austin College as Assistant Professor of Biology in 2012.  After serving as a postdoctoral research associate at University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. She earned a Ph.D. in zoology at Colorado State University, concentrating in ecological physiology, and completed her bachelor’s degree in biology at Central College in Iowa.

According to National Geographic, “The coyote appears often in the tales and traditions of Native Americans—usually as a very savvy and clever beast. Modern coyotes have displayed their cleverness by adapting to the changing American landscape. These members of the dog family once lived primarily in open prairies and deserts, but now roam the continent's forests and mountains. They have even colonized cities like Los Angeles, and are now found over most of North America....[Omnivorous mammals, the coyote may live to be to 14 years of age in the wild.]”

On Wikipedia we found this account of a coyote sighting from the journal of Meriwether Lewis, said to encounter the species a number of times during the  Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Lewis, writing on May 5, 1805, in northeastern Montana, described the coyote as follows:
Toltec pictograph of coyote from Wikipedia
"the small woolf or burrowing dog of the prairies are the inhabitants almost invariably of the open plains; they usually ascociate in bands of ten or twelve sometimes more and burrow near some pass or place much frequented by game; not being able alone to take deer or goat they are rarely ever found alone but hunt in bands; they frequently watch and seize their prey near their burrows; in these burrows they raise their young and to them they also resort when pursued; when a person approaches them they frequently bark, their note being precisely that of the small dog. they are of an intermediate size between that of the fox and dog, very active fleet and delicately formed; the ears large erect and pointed the head long and pointed more like that of the fox; tale long; . . . the hair and fur also resembles the fox tho' is much coarser and inferior. they are of a pale redish brown colour. the eye of a deep sea green colour small and piercing. their tallons [claws] are reather longer than those of the ordinary wolf or that common to the atlantic states, none of which are to be found in this quarter, nor I believe above the river Plat."

Second Saturday programs are free and open to the public.  Reservations are not needed.  Come and learn!

Hagerman NWR is located at 6465 Refuge Road, Sherman.  The phone number for the Refuge is 903 786 2826.  Refuge lands are open daily from sunrise to sunset, with no charge for admission. Directions and hours for the Refuge Office and Visitor Center are posted at

1 comment:

  1. It was a wonderful talk.
    Thank you so much for presenting such a complete story.