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Coyote Alert

Coyotes and Cranes: Friends or Foes?
Contributed by Tom Stehn, USFWS

Dear Tom,

We continue having some whooping cranes stop-over here. One of the whooper watch volunteers watched a coyote near to one of the family. The cranes were alert. What do you do in Aransas when you have a case like this?


Platte River Trust
Whooper Watch Coordinator

I have on several occasions at Aransas and in migration seen coyotes near whooping cranes. The whooping cranes will show alert behavior when they see a coyote and will act alarmed. The whooping cranes normally just keep an eye on the coyote, and the coyote just goes on his way.

I don't think the presence of a coyote is an issue for healthy whooping cranes. This winter our Lobstick family goup had two juveniles. Once the two juveniles were observed walking quickly towards a coyote. Then they started to chase it. The parents quickly got involved and moved closer to their juveniles. I could just see the adults saying "What trouble are our youngsters getting into this time?" I think the coyote left without further commotion.

Tom Stehn, USFWS Biologist
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge


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