Posted tagged ‘mallards central park’

Coyotes: Columbia University and Central Park

February 8, 2010

Three coyotes were spotted on Columbia University’s Morningside Heights campus on Sunday morning. You read that right. Three! As far as I know, this is the first time a pack of coyotes has made its way into Manhattan. I’m impressed.

Police officers responded, but only spotted one, walking behind the Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research.

I hope Saint John the Divine keeps their lovely, free-ranging peacocks indoors for a while.

White peacock at St. John's by jskrybe/Flickr.com

Well, a trio of coyotes in the hood certainly puts a whole new spin on the Central Park coyote. Did a pack cross into Manhattan together? Is the Central Park coyote a member of the three-dog Columbia coyote pack? Just how many coyotes are there wandering about in upper Manhattan?

As far as we know this Monday morning, however many there are, they’re all still free and livin’ la vida loca in the heart of the city.

Last Friday, Esau and I went coyote-hunting in Central Park’s North Woods. No coyotes, but plenty of flyers with a cute drawing of a raccoon surrounded by the ominous words: Rabies Advisory:

Leave wildlife alone

All the official-looking people we talked to affirmed that the coyote was still out there…somewhere.  A Central Park Conservancy guy, tooling around in a golf cart, responded to our questions by asking if we knew Paul. No, we replied. Should we?

Apparently, Paul and his dog were walking on the Great Hill Thursday morning when they noticed a peculiar-looking dog, watching them from the other side of the mesh fencing. The coyote. When they resumed walking, the animal shadowed them, matching their pace and direction from its side of the fence.

At the ravine, we are amazed by the size of this root ball from a tree downed in last August’s freak storm.That mountain behind Esau is all root ball. Yowza.

Giant root ball

We wandered to the pool, where Bruce Yolton took last week’s photos of coyote on ice. We didn’t see the predator, but we did see some nice-looking prey:

Mallards in open water

When they’re not swimming, the mallards loaf around on the edge of the ice, like neighborhood corner guys, waiting for something interesting to happen.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure these quackers would recognize interesting unless it jumped up and bit them. Literally. They certainly seem blase about Esau’s presence. I’m guessing they’d make easy pickings for a hungry coyote.

But then, NYC is full of easy pickings, whether in the parks or on the streets. Especially on trash night when the big black bags are piled high. If Esau has caught rats on 108th Street, while leashed, a wild coyote would surely have a field day, and do us all a favor, in the process.


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