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Meadow Voles Food for Coyotes

1-11-15 coyote  192When there is deep snow on the ground, white-tailed deer are often preferred-eating for eastern coyotes, with snowshoe hares not far behind. While small rodents are also consumed during the winter, they make up a larger proportion of a coyote’s diet during spring, summer and fall. With only a few inches of snow on the ground currently, meadow voles are still very vulnerable to predation, as the tufts of grass where they tend to nest are still visible.

Tracks indicate that a coyote stopped to investigate numerous grass tussocks scattered throughout a nearby field recently. Near several of these clumps of grass were slide marks (see foreground in photo) where the coyote had jumped, landed and slid. The groove made by the coyote’s sliding foot always ends with a foot print. At this particular site, the coyote had pounced, slid and then dug and uprooted a nest, possibly procuring a vole, but leaving no trace of success behind. What it did leave behind was scat (3 o’clock in photo), with which the coyote claimed ownership of the site.

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3 responses

  1. John Snell


    As always, many thanks for your insights and knowledge! I was disturbed by a piece in the Sunday Times-Argus about a guy who is teaching people how to hunt coyotes. While I don’t have any fundamental issues with hunting, he said two things that I took exception with: 1. coyotes population is booming and hunting will help reduce them; my understanding is statistics show the more they are hunted, the more they have and expand. #2. He said on major reason to hunt was that coyotes are causing a lot of damage with farmers; I don’ t have statistics but find it difficult to believe this is a huge problem. Whether I’m right or wrong, perhaps a wider discussion of issues related to coyotes could find a place in one of your upcoming columns?

    All the best,


    January 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    • Hi John,
      I share your opinions, and will attempt to educate myself about the coyote’s status and impact on farmer’s in the Northeast. I know that you are correct in your population statement. Thank you so much for bringing my attention to this. So sad when a lack of knowledge negatively impacts wildlife – or any other kind of life, for that matter. Mary

      January 16, 2016 at 9:33 am

  2. Cheron barton


    Sent from my iPhone


    January 11, 2016 at 2:50 pm

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