A few days ago we put our our canoe for the season. Our property borders on a neighborhood lake. As we were moving the canoe from the basement, I caught sight of a young dove slamming into one of our windows under our deck with a resounding thud. We stopped our canoe project to watch the scene unfold. Stunned, the bird sat for a few moments on the patio. Within about five minutes a larger dove, presumably the injured bird's mother, landed on the rocks at the edge of our lawn. It's remarkable how birds can slam into windows, so hard you would think they would be dead on arrival, and yet they often recompose and fly away as they were none the worse for the collision. This little dove walked through the lawn toward its mother, then sat in the middle of the grass for a time, and we eventually lost interest going back to our canoe moving project. When we looked again, the two birds were out of sight. Then, as we walked our canoe toward the tall grass by the lake, and I heard a flutter. The little dove was now hiding in the tall grass. As we moved closer to the lake, we heard and saw the mama dove in the nearby cottonwoods scolding us for being too close.
A nearly bald coyote has been frequenting the edge of our back yard the past few months. Mange can make any creature look pitiful and haunting. Caused by parasitic mites, it can make animals lose fur and develop skin abscesses. Infectious, mange can spread through pack animals quickly, and that seems to be the case this year with coyotes on the Colorado Front Range. Mange E. Coyote pathetically pauses near the rocks and on the hill, sometimes sitting for 5 minutes or more, seemingly wondering what to do next. We have wondered how the creature manages to sustain itself. One study indicates that coyotes with mange are more likely than their healthy counterparts to spend time near humans, be active during the day and eat "human" food, none of which is good for either species. Phys.org notes, "The researchers suggest their study shows that one way to reduce coyotes mixing with humans is to reduce mange infections—currently it is treated by application of an ointment, a therapy that is not likely to be conducted with wild animals. Further research might reveal other possibilities. Also, they note that pet owners should be aware that dogs can get mange from coyotes."
Two evenings ago, at the crepuscular time, I spotted Mange E. making the backyard rounds. It was about to wander over the hill to wilds near the lake, when the coyote clearly caught a whiff of something. It immediately turned around and sniffed vigorously, moving toward its target. Up Mange E. came out of the grass with a dead bird in its mouth.
The little dove did not recover from the window collision. But Mange E. had a good protein-filled meal. I saw Mange E. again this morning, working to stay at the top of the food chain in our backyard ecosystem.