Still, these coyotes howling in the night (listen to #45 in this link!) in northern New York State look bigger and tougher than the skinny coyotes of the wild west -- probably because they have quite a few wolves in their family tree.
It's not a new story. When Eastern wolves became thin on the ground in the North East US in the last century or so, they did what we all do when the dating pool gets shallow: we widen the search. Change our expectations. Try new things. "Coywolf" doesn't sound nearly as cool as "coydog," but evidently, it's the more appropriate terminology.
But enough about wild canid dating. It's worked well enough to bring a sizable predator into the niche that wolves used to fill. Coyotes have come to the North Country in a big way, bringing with them fear and loathing.
Coyotes are predators. They devour other animals for a living*. It's not pretty: they will eat newborn calves, deer, rabbits, cats, sheep, chickens, small dogs.
And it's human nature to resent this kind of thing. I can't really blame people who have lost livestock or pets to take revenge in bullets and poison. It's how we humans got to the top of the heap.
Yet -- at dusk, watching a single coyote through the telephoto lens as it hunts a mouse? Yes, a wiley, wild animal. Yes, potentially dangerous. Those fangs! But really -- this coyote trotted out into a hayfield overlooking a TILT preserve as the light faded one May evening, ignoring the cattle in favor of something small and elusive in the tall grass. S/he is eating a mouse. What could be more homey and appealing?
(*Coyotes are technically omnivores. According to scat analysis, they eat just about everything, from garden veggies to berries and fruits, grasshoppers, porcupines, and they scavenge already-dead carcasses. Bless their hungry hearts.)