While out walking at the Theyler Wetlands in Belfair today a teacher and a group of students told me that they had seen a coyote in the large field that borders the wetlands. Although it was no longer in sight, I figured that if I just listened for the outpost
to start cackling I would soon spot the coyote, and it didn’t take long for my theory to bear fruit. It wasn’t ten minutes and the flock was flying in circles honking loudly.
Sue enough, a rather large coyote came trotting across the field, though he seemed to be more intent on chasing mice than on catching geese.
Good thing, too, as the flock of geese was more than ready to tell the world about any potential threat.
I suspect the geese would have been even more nervous if they’d realize that another predator was just down the trail. And this one would come from an entirely different direction:
Though I’m pretty sure he, too, was looking for an easier meal — migrating salmon — since he was on a tall fir bordering the creek.
The more I observe geese, commonly regarded locally as pests and sometimes poisoned by State agents when residents complain, the more admire their survival skills. They seem to have evolved a highly sophisticated survival system, which includes separating from the flock for breeding and reforming it to better survive the winters. Still, it makes me wonder how the geese decide whose turn it is to be on watch and whose turn it is to catch a snack.