Watching You Watching Me
I’ve commented before about how intelligent Coyotes are. I encounter these animals occasionally on my early morning walks and I invariably have the sense that they are outsmarting me. They seem to know that I want to photograph them and they are determined to make that as difficult as possible. They are like ghosts — you see them moving out of the corner of your eye but they never give you a clear view from close up.
The other day I was out walking when I had the sense that someone was watching me from off to one side. I looked through some dense brush and I could barely make out the shape of a Coyote. It was about 25 meters away and it was definitely staring at me, not moving, just watching to see where I was going. I turned to face it and it melted into the bushes. I assumed that the encounter was over and kept walking. A couple of minutes later and I sensed some movement off to one side. I stopped, looked, and there it was again. It had kept pace with me, stride for stride, and was still very quietly observing me from almost exactly the same distance as before, about 25 meters. The Coyote was not in front of me. I hadn’t inadvertently pursued it. Rather, it was to my side and it was deliberately tracking me. Again, I turned to face the Coyote and again, it vanished. I walked some more. After a few more minutes, and for a third time, I caught a glimpse of something. We were separated by a fence. I stepped over to the fence and, just for a moment, got a clear view of the animal. It was still about 25 meters away and it was staring fixedly at me.
The Coyote held its pose for just a couple of seconds and I was able to take its picture. You can see that it was watching me closely, although its posture was more submissive than threatening.
After just a second or two more, it turned and trotted off, quickly disappearing. I didn’t see it again.
Obviously, this Coyote was curious about me and was checking me out. Not as prey, of course, Coyotes never attack adult humans. More likely, it saw me as an intruder on its turf and it wanted to know what sort of threat I might pose. The more I observe Coyotes the more they fascinate me. Their intellect is something unique among the animals that I encounter and I sometimes see them more as four-legged peers than as wild animals.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, aperture priority setting, ISO 800, f5.6 @ 1/3200.