Coyote at Scarborough Bluffs: November 21, 2020

I went early to the bottom of the Scarborough Bluffs this morning hoping to photograph the sky colours at dawn. Overcast conditions, however, meant that it was all very gray as the sun rose far behind thick clouds.

My trip was not in vain as a coyote appeared and remained very close for quite some time.


The animal seemed quite interested in me and I thought of our cavemen and women ancestors who tamed wolves by feeding them. This led to the evolution of dogs.


Coyotes are a natural part of the urban landscape in Toronto and an important part of the ecosystem as they control rodent and rabbit populations in Toronto. These animals thrive in urban areas because of the abundance of food and shelter available to them.


According to City, there were 798 sightings of coyotes reported in 2017. By the end of 2019, that number had risen to a yearly total of 1257.


The increase may be due to people who put out food for coyotes. Toronto Animal Services asks people to stop feeding wild coyotes. The lives of some cats and dogs may literally depend on it.


Coyotes don’t need handouts from humans to survive —though they’ll take an easy meal wherever they can get one.


Coyotes are 32 – 37 inches in length and weigh between 20 and 50 pounds.


The nose is more pointed and the tail bushier than is normal in dogs.


Coyotes are chiefly nocturnal but may be abroad at any time.


They will eat almost anything animal or vegetable.


A coyote hunting route is normally about 10 miles but they may move up to 100 miles.


Some have lived over 18 years in captivity.


They can run as fast as 60 km an hour for short distances.


Coyotes mate in January – February and have been known to mate with domestic dogs.


On moonlight nights, they can sometimes be heard howling or yipping.


We had a warbler this morning which is rather late in the season for them. I did not get a good look at it and have pieced together an identification for it from these poor photos.

The bird does not have obvious bright white wing bars:

has a yellow throat and belly:

and shows a white eye ring.

Nashville Warbler

These characteristics make it a Nashville Warbler though the latest fall date for a Nashville Warbler in southern Ontario is usually about October 24. One was seen in Oshawa on November 9 in 1952. Here is a better photo from Ken Sproule:

Nashville Warbler (photo: Ken Sproule)

Other birds:

Canada Geese (one with tag)
Canada Geese
Canada Goose
Canada Geese
Northern Cardinal (male)
American Tree Sparrow
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Rock Pigeons
American Black Duck and Mallards
American Black Duck
Ring-billed Gull (juvenile)
Herring Gull
Herring Gull (juvenile)
Herring Gull (juvenile)
Herring Gull (juvenile)

Species list: Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, long-tailed duck, ring-billed gull, herring gull, rock pigeon, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch, American robin, European starling, common redpoll, Nashville warbler, house sparrow, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, American tree sparrow.  (20 species)

Some botany:

Amur Cork-tree (Phellodendron amurense)
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Missouri Willow (Salix eriocephala)
Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Red Ash flower gall and seed
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)

Park scenes:

Today’s group:


The soft November days are here,
The aftermath of blossom’s year.           – Sara Louisa Oberholtzer (1841–1930)

Miles Hearn

4 thoughts on “Coyote at Scarborough Bluffs: November 21, 2020

  1. Gail

    I often see coyote in Mount Pleasant Cemetery but they are taller, longer legged and rangy and more grey. They too are pretty fearless . A young Coyote took a big interest in my lab before I hurried her away. The cemetery custodian said he had to discourage an eager photographer from filming four coyote surrounding the alpha dog who was feeding on a dead raccoon . He too thinks they do a great job of culling the small animals.
    I have seen a male followed by a female crossing a Main Street in North Toronto in broad daylight oblivious to traffic. They had such a focused gaze and very distinctive long nose. Everyone braked!

  2. Gloria James

    During the winter months you can hear the coyotes calling out. We live close to a ravine surrounding Mimico Creek. One warm day there were bikers and walkers in the park and I saw the coyote walking along the other side of the creek watching the people! She does get fed by some of the human visitors.

    Also if there are very few people walking or riding bikes she is very confident and curious. She really startled my dog ( on leash) and me when she came close to us. I don’t think she meant any harm but now I only walk in that area if there are more people around.

  3. Lisa Volkov

    I have seen the Mount Pleasant coyote (or one of them) more than once, when I used to walk there. You certainly let that coyote get close, Miles–great pictures! And great pictures of everything else, too–thanks Ken, for the one you contributed!


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