Backyard Coyotes

“Really, you live in Ramona? That’s way out there, in the mountains, isn’t it?”


I hear that quite often, when the conversation comes to where I live. We actually live in the San Diego Country Estates, which are composed of several neighborhoods associated with the unincorporated community of Ramona, California.
Regarding “the mountains”, we are at an elevation of 1,656 ft (505 m), located southeast of Ramona and 38 miles (61 km) northeast of San Diego.
What’s cool “out here” is that there is some space between homes. For the most part, it’s not as densely populated as the towns and cities that are closer to the ocean.

We see small flocks of California valley quails, small ground-dwelling birds (which also happen to be the California State Birds), running through the yard, often several times daily. Sporadically, very early in the morning, even a coyote passes through, at the very end of the backyard.

Today was different however, after one of the first cold nights of the season, maybe around 39F (4C), it was nice to feel the warm sun around 9 o’clock in the morning. And while getting my second cup of coffee, I noticed a coyote, coming slowly down the hill, entering the backyard. He paused under the olive tree and then laid down, obviously tired, enjoying the warming morning sun.

He seemed relaxed enough to give me the time to get my camera out and I took a shot through the window, before heading upstair, to get out on the balcony.

Even shooting in silent mode, the shutter was loud enough to disturb the wolflike wild dog’s nap. At first, he didn’t seem to know where the noise was coming from, but then got up very quickly, heading further down the hill. Most homeowners don’t fence in their yards, allowing the coyote and other animals free passage.