Coyotes on Bison

Yellowstone National Park (between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt).

By late morning of March 15, the large grizzly bear that extracted a semi-frozen bison carcass from an ice-covered pond had left the scene.

After the three coyotes crossed a beautiful, ice-covered pond, they took turns feasting on the bloody carcass. Others watched for intruders. Coyotes (Canis latrans) are intelligent and adaptable.

While the coyotes were feasting on the bison carcass, they appeared to be annoyed with the Ravens. The coyotes would chase and harass these large birds, and the birds would dive-bomb the coyotes. Eventually, the coyotes wandered off, and the ravens continued to consume the bison’s flesh.

Often mistaken for a wolf, the coyote is about one-third the wolf’s size. In the early 1900's, the "non-controversial" government predator control programs helped eliminate the gray wolf from Yellowstone. The last wolves were killed in 1926. Coyotes then partially filled the void left vacant after wolves were exterminated from the park.

Coyotes, also known as “song dogs,” communicate with each other by a variation of long-range vocalizations. Coyotes also communicate with each other using urine and feces.

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