A coyote was reported to have killed a cat in neighboring Fairmont a couple of nights ago, and last night one wandered on the prowl in our Berkeley neighborhood. The south end of Berkeley has a tree-lined creek, and a drainage ditch, with a lot of shrubbery, runs along the east edge—plenty of habitat for critters. Plus, we’re so close to the zoo and park, they can wander up from there.
So last night the Berkeley Buzz reported a coyote coming out of the creek and headed east—far end of the neighborhood from us, and I thought no more about it. But Jordan came out in a little bit and closed my patio door as a precaution. At first, I wanted to tell her about the people-shy nature of coyotes. I doubt one could breach our fences and gates, and if it did, it certainly would not come waltzing into the cottage after Sophie. But she was right, of course. The point was to keep Sophie inside, not the coyote out.
This morning all is calm, with no report of the predator.
I’m always a bit on a watch for predators in the neighborhood. Four chickens live behind me in a large pen and a coop made out of an old playhouse. I can best see them from the bathroom window, and I peek at them when I’m in there. Did you know chickens are cuddlers? They cuddle or huddle together, even on the hottest day. They’re also pretty—one is a beautiful golden color, another a striking black-and-white pattern.
One day I saw the pen door open and nary a human or a chicken in sight. I panicked, thinking a predator had gotten them. (It happened once before with one chicken and a dog, and I still remember the predator who got all my kids’ rabbits—gory details not necessary; I was much more upset than my children who didn’t like caring for rabbits.) Anyway, I emailed both the dad and mom behind me; turns out the mom was home and let them out for a bit of free range grazing or whatever chickens do.
A friend’s Shih Tzu was grabbed by a predatory bird (hawk, probably). Fortunately, he was too heavy for the bird, and it dropped the dog. Poor little guy had vicious-looking wounds from the talons, but with antibiotics, he’ll be fine. I don’t worry too much about Sophie and birds, be they hawks or owls, because at thirty pounds I figure she’s too heavy for them to attack. And I suspect she’d put up a good fight—unless her backyard demonstrations are all bark and no bite.
But a coyote—I don’t know. A part of me hopes a coyote just wouldn’t want to try to deal with a dog almost its own size. I think they go for easier prey. But I’ll never bet on it. And the occasional bobcat found in the city—that scares me.
But Sophie mostly prefers to spend her days on the couch (note the head on the pillow). Of course, it’s twilight that worries me, and I don’t let her out unless I’m at my desk with a full view of the yard. I have no idea what I would or could do in case of an attack. You know what they say about adrenaline—I might well abandon the walker and run to the rescue.