Burlington, Ontario is not the only city that has reported a noticeable increase in coyote sightings and interactions with residents. Coyote sightings are becoming a much more frequent occurrence in many urban centers across Canada.
Urban sprawl and the loss of habitat is often cited as the main reason for many previously shy and skittish critters boldly moving to the city. It makes sense; we continuously expand our living space into more rural areas and end up displacing wildlife in the process. But, we are in a rather unique time because of the last three years and COVID lockdowns.
During lockdowns, human traffic was way down, signaling to animals that people had vacated the outdoors and perhaps it was safe for them to reclaim territory. Parks and woodlands were free of playing children, joggers, hikers, and people playing outdoors. All was quiet. Many building projects came to a halt, leaving behind abandoned sites, perfect for denning and raising offspring.
On the other hand, those pesky humans (us) who were locked in their homes and craving contact and connection, delighted in seeing wildlife in their backyards and started leaving out food. Nature, and animals in particular, have a way of healing the soul. During a time when people felt isolated, alone, and disconnected, even just observing otherwise hard to spot wildlife, brought a bit of joy.
While many of the critters who visit our backyards are fun to watch and end up little more than a nuisance, none of them should be fed by us. It is decidedly unhealthy for them AND some of them pose a substantial threat to humans, their pets, and their dwellings. Such an animal is the coyote. Now accustomed to empty spaces and much less fearful of humans, coyotes are showing territorial aggression in populated areas. Even more so, if you happen to be near a den. Coyotes will stalk pets, and challenge humans. They may attack unprovoked – simply because you are where they want to be. Such was the case in the Burlington incidents. Burlington reported seven unprovoked attacks on humans in 2022 and ended up having to destroy four of the animals.
What to do when you encounter a Coyote?
- DO NOT ENGAGE.
- Do not turn and run. If you can, throw something at them. Stand tall, make yourself look big, make aggressive loud sounds - yell and scream at them.
- If you have, use a belt or purse strap like you would a whip. Hit the ground to bring up dust.
- Walk away backwards so you never present your back to them.
- Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
- Call your local municipality.
For City Officials
What to do when you receive reports of Coyote sightings?
- Contact Hawkeye Bird & Animal Control.
Coyote Control methods include Live Trapping, Licensed Trapping, Physical Capture, Shooting, Relocation, and Destruction of the animal. Unfortunately, destruction of the animal is inevitable once a Coyote has been food conditioned and is no longer afraid of humans.
- Educate the public and/or impose fines on feeding wildlife.
- Clean up/secure sites that could attract Coyotes looking for den space.
- Get the geophysical location
Hawkeye retains the following special permits and licenses:
- Capture & Removal Services Permit
- Certificate for Shooting In Sensitive Environments
- Wilderness Firearms Permit
- Commercial Falconry License and Falconry Permit- Allows us to use birds of prey, (hawks, owls, falcons and eagles) to scare, chase or remove in a natural way.
- Hawkeye Capture Netting™ permit.
- Trapping of Fur Bearing Animals Permit- This allows us to offer either:
- Euthanize / Exterminate using humane methods OR
- Relocate an animal 1km away
- Pest Control License:provide the chemical edge or answer to certain problems. These methods include natural pesticides.