Coyotes are common in West Bloomfield and throughout the state. Officials want residents to be informed on how to live among them. Pictured, a coyote rests on the winter landscape.

Coyotes are common in West Bloomfield and throughout the state. Officials want residents to be informed on how to live among them. Pictured, a coyote rests on the winter landscape.

Photo provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources


Coyote sightings reported in West Bloomfield

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 14, 2019

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — A couple of coyote sightings in various areas of West Bloomfield Township sparked a post on the township website on how to deal with encounters with the canines native to North America.

The post by the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission notes that to minimize potential conflicts with “our coyote neighbors,” people should abide by a few rules.

People should leash their dogs and stay with their dogs at all times. Small dogs, similar in size to a cottontail rabbit, should especially be kept close. People should never intentionally approach or feed a coyote.

People should not encourage coyotes to approach them. If a coyote approaches, people should not run; instead, they should make loud noises and try to appear large.

The post made clear that neither the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission nor local animal control officers will trap, hunt or relocate coyotes from this natural area.

“Coexistence is the best option,” the post states. Coyotes typically will avoid humans.

West Bloomfield Deputy Police Chief Curt Lawson said in an email that coyotes usually weigh around 20-40 pounds, are most active at sunset and sunrise, and breed between January and March.

“And this is when they are seen the most,” he said. “Their common diet includes mice, rabbits, squirrels and deer. Coyotes live in the greater West Bloomfield area. They have little interest in interacting with people.”

Hannah Schauer, the communications and education coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife division, said the MDNR does not track coyote numbers specifically, and the MDNR looks at population rate only to see if it is stable.

“We don’t have a population estimate number because they are such a common species,” she said.

Schauer added that coyotes do not live in a pack structure. If someone sees a group of coyotes, it is probably a mated pair and some of their offspring.

“This time of year we are more likely to see a mated pair,” she said.

Lawson said people should remember to treat any wild animal with respect.

The MDNR and Oakland County Animal Control said that coyotes are generally fearful of humans.

“In many urban areas, hunting or trapping may not be allowed for certain reasons. In this case, specially permitted nuisance control companies can be hired to assist landowners in the safe removal of problem animals. A list of companies are available at www.michigan.gov/wildlife; click on Rehab & Conflict,” states the MDNR website.

Local park naturalists Lauren Azoury and Patrick Endres said in an email statement that a coyote’s natural habitat includes forests and grasslands.

“But they are adapted to urban and suburban habitats that provide wooded areas for shelter and their food sources,” states the email. “West Bloomfield does have these kind of forested and grassland habitats.”

Lawson said one of the great things about West Bloomfield is its natural beauty, which includes lakes, woodlands and wetlands.

“The inhabitants include coyotes, turkeys and fox,” he said in the email.  “We are fortunate to live in a community with such diverse wildlife.”

To minimize potential conflicts and to protect small pets, DNR furbearer specialist Adam Bump has several tips, according an MDNR press release.

“The first thing to remember is never to intentionally feed or try to tame a coyote; leave wildlife in the wild,” Bump said in the release. “Remove those appealing food sources, fence off your gardens and fruit trees, clear out wood and brush piles, and accompany your pets outdoors rather than letting them roam free.”

The press release states that this time of year, it’s not uncommon to hear about an uptick in coyote sightings around the state because coyotes are more visible during their breeding season, as well as in the spring and summer months, when they’re caring for their pups.

Jon Mayes, the recreation grants manager for the MDNR, said in a phone interview that he is a fan of coyotes. He said they are shy, smart and skittish.

He said the creatures are good at surviving at night, and he has coyotes in his backyard, near Lansing.

Mayes added that coyotes get a bad rap, and if one is “lucky enough” to see a coyote, appreciate it but use common sense.

“They are out there trying to get something to eat … not, like, pursuing people as a target — not the case at all,” Mayes said. “They’re just creatures trying to survive out there.”

When food sources are available — such as trash bins, bird feeders and pet food — coyotes may become more comfortable around people.

Coyotes are beneficial because they are skilled hunters and help control our rodent populations.

The West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission will host a free program for adults, “Coyote Neighbors,” taught by MDNR Wildlife Specialist Holly Vaughn, 6-8 p.m. May 14 at the Recreation Activities Center. Pre-registration is required at www.wbparks.org.

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