Photos & Article by Jan Ramelli
The Willow Creek area has an abundance of wildlife including hawks, owls, kestrels, and the coyote. All of these animals play a big role in the reduction of rodents which left unchecked can reek havoc in agricultural areas.
The coyote is part of the “Canidae Family” same as wolves and foxes. Coyotes build their dens near a riverbank, sides of a canyon or gulches. They breed in early spring and usually mate for life. They can have as many as 19 pups in a litter, but usually around 7; the female will often build a separate den for raising her young and will move them if disturbed.
They are opportunist when it comes to feeding; you will usually see them in a field where they are looking for small mammals such as rabbits, mice, ground squirrels, pocket gophers and will also feast on snakes, insects, fruit, and carrion. They sometimes will hunt in a pack and take down a deer or an antelope.
Coyotes do not have many natural predators as the population of Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Mountain Lions, and wolves have decreased; man is the major enemy.