“Wake up, wake up!” –Thumper to Bambi as spring arrives.
Last Saturday in our neighborhood was quite a day for man and beast (wild and domesticated) alike. Ordinarily weekend living in the foothills is quiet, a time to catch up on shopping, gardening or perhaps even relaxing. Although still technically winter, the weather had jumped ahead and the day resembled one of spring. The skies were La Crescenta blue (a new Crayola color?) and clear. Temperatures reached toward the 90-degree mark as a gentle Santa Ana wind blew through the foothills.
Like many dog owners, we have our far share of silly things we do with our pup, Abby. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the following for just any dog, but considering Abby’s disposition and our neighbor’s generous invitation extended to her, it worked. Saturday morning as we opened our garage, Abby made her usual mad dash under the door – as it was still opening – and into the connecting yard next door. She always announces her arrival with a friendly bark or two. After saying “hello” and surveying her domain, she returned home – mission accomplished. This day was different because the barking continued. Doug was outside with her so I didn’t think too much about it.
“Susie, you won’t believe what happened!” my husband, and his tired “best friend,” shared. “I was at the mailbox and Abby went running by me chasing a coyote. It was so close; I could have touched it.”
Abby reluctantly gave up chase when called. By now, neighbors had walked over and shared their stories. It seems a pair of coyotes moved onto our street a month ago and could be seen out and about during the day.
With spring much of the animal world reawakens. Water, food and multiplying are at the top of their “to do” list. Our local coyotes can successfully accomplish all three tasks in one fell swoop within a single street block.
Due to drought and recent fires, our swimming pools, pet’s water bowls and sprinklers are the No. 1 invitation to these scavengers. What’s on the dinner menu? Coyote favorites are cats, small dogs, pet food, avocados and trash, to name a few. It goes without saying: If an area offers water and food, it would also be a good place to start a family. The coyote couple have found our street to their liking and plan to stay, so a few words of advice:
1. Watch and warn your children.
2. Keep both cats and dogs in at night. Cats and small dogs in during the day, also.
3. No pet food outside. Pick up fallen fruit in the yard.
4. If seen, scare them away with loud noises.
Remember, these neighbors are wild animals!
Exciting week with coyotes, earthquakes and the first day of spring. Weather-wise, cooler and possible drizzle are predicted for the weekend. A quick warm-up, then by midweek light rain is a possibility but the exact timing and amount are unknown.
Until next week, treat all neighbors with due respect and enjoy spring showers.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service.
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