Another NYC Borough Falls to the Coyote

A coyote has been spotted in Staten Island.

Photo by Nick Mirto. Click image to visit

New Jerseyan Nick Mirto saw the coyote in Staten Island’s Freshkills landfill on a recent run to dump a load of soil. Luckily for us, he pulled out his trusty iPhone and snapped the above photo. On previous trips, Mirto has seen herds of white-tailed deer and two red foxes at the site.

How did the coyote get to Staten Island? Well, deer swim across the Arthur Kill from New Jersey, as you can unmistakeably see in this video, taken by a boat captain: Two Deer Swimming To Staten Island.  Like deer, coyotes are strong swimmers, and they certainly inhabit New Jersey.  You can see in the map below that it’s not terribly far.

Juvenile coyotes often disperse at this time of year, kicked out by parents who are preparing to raise a new litter.  Most of the coyotes that have shown up in Manhattan over the past decade or so have been juveniles between one and two years of age. My guess is that the Staten Island coyote, too, is a young animal in search of new territory to call its own.

According to a CUNY Brooklyn website, “The Fresh Kills Landfill covers 2200 acres, can be seen with the naked eye from space and is taller then the Statue of Liberty, at a height of 225 ft.”  That’s a mighty big area for a coyote, full of prey. If you can ignore the fact that the landfill is stuffed with toxins, it would seem to be a pretty happy hunting ground for a coyote.

On other New York coyote news, Science Friday just posted a lovely video of the on-going studies being conducted by wildlife biologist Mark Weckel. Studying Coyotes in NYC.  The video reveals that a camera trap photo below, which I had guessed was taken in Van Cortland Park, was actually taken in Yonkers.

Camera Trap Photo: Mark Weckel. Click image to visit Science Friday.

As I’ve been saying for a couple of years now, coyotes are coming, people. In fact, they’re here.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2012, coyotes, In the City, Seasons, Spring, Wildlife/Natural History

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15 Comments on “Another NYC Borough Falls to the Coyote”

  1. […] More recently, they seem to have taken up residence in Queens, and in 2012, a coyote was spotted in Staten Island. Manhattan’s coyotes probably come down from the Bronx over one of the bridges at the […]

  2. […] at a large cemetery in Queens. (They also breed in the Bronx, and have been seen in Manhattan and Staten Island.) In fact, urban foxes in the UK seem to occupy a similar niche as coyotes now do in many North […]

  3. […] Another NYC Borough Falls to the Coyote muses over the first documented sighting of a coyote in Staten Island’s Fresh Kills landfill. […]

  4. Wild_Bill Says:

    Coyotes have adapted well to Los Angeles, why not NYC? And I’ll bet the rat food supply is outrageous at the giant landfill. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

    • Manhattan’s density makes it problematic for successful coyote colonization, but Staten Island looks like a great bet. And, yes, the rat supply at the landfill must be heavenly. If you’re a coyote, that is. And here in my neighborhood of Manhattan, we have quite an appallingly large rat population – I’d welcome a few good rat-catchers, canine or otherwise.

  5. Martin Wong Says:

    Nice photos you got! I envy your life!

  6. Georgia (local ecologist) Says:

    Welcome back, coyotes? Thank you for the informative post.

  7. ailsapm Says:

    How exciting :)

  8. Barbara Says:

    What a super post – love that you are as passionate about the coyotes as you are about so many wonderful creatures in your great city Melissa… thanks for the update!

  9. Ag Says:

    like most things – they’ve probably been there for a long time even though people are just noticing. very cool news though… well the former landfill is in the process of being turned into a park. I’m not sure how much of it they will allow to become “forested” – but I will assume at that size it will be somewhat like Pelham Bay and Van Cortlandt in the Bronx… so coyotes could den there.

    • It’s always possible they’ve been there a while, undetected or, at any rate, unreported – but it is also possible that this individual is an outlier, a pioneer, the first colonist in a line of future settlers. It will be an interesting story to follow. And Staten Island seems like a pretty good place for coyotes. Maybe they can be employed by the city to with management of the deer and that huge herd, er, I mean, flock, of wild turkeys that is driving some residents crazy.

  10. mthew Says:

    Let’s hope they don’t eat all the leopard frogs, a new species of which was discovered in Staten Island recently.

    This does, however, put a damper on my theory that the coyotes travel by subway (4 train from the Bronx, of course, into Manhattan), since SI doesn’t have a subway connection to the rest of NYC or NJ.

    Here in Brooklyn, meanwhile, we await.

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