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View Diary: 2014 Backyard Science Yardbird Race Tally #2 (177 comments)

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  •  I think the hybridization took place a long time (8+ / 0-)

    ago and is being passed on from generation to generation so if there were wolves in the area at some time in the past there could be coywolves there today, even if wolves themselves are no longer present.

    Just give me some truth. John Lennon

    by burnt out on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 04:34:50 PM PST

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    •  The show said the interbreeding continues (8+ / 0-)

      though the wolves live up north across the Canadian border. The coywolves have all different proportions of wolf and coyote, so the animals continue to interbreed with both species and each other. It's the hybrid that's expanding in range southward. I thought it was interesting how they prefer developed areas - they need a smaller territory to survive there because more food is available.

      I wouldn't mind having a few on the island here to stabilize the deer and rabbit populations which are out of control. But that would never happen. Just like before all predators would be killed off - the islands used to have wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars. All gone now, on all the islands.

      •  Islands are a special case; a closed system. (4+ / 0-)

        The native populations of prey and predator keep peaking and crashing. Since predators reproduce at a slower rate, there is always a lag time when everything appears balanced.  

        If you introduce coyotes to an island with a human population, they would quickly clear your rodent problem; but then, when there are no more juicy rabbits, they would be after your garbage. Now the coyotes are the pests and they'd be hunted. Coyotes crash, rabbits breed; you're back to wanting coyotes.

        Introducing predators to an area the size of Yellowstone is different then trying to balance an island ecosystem.

        And you know all this so I am just being pedantic. ;-)

        "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

        by Most Awesome Nana on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 07:31:33 AM PST

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        •  The dealbreakers on the island would be (4+ / 0-)

          1) pet cats, and 2) livestock, like lambs and chickens. Both farmers and suburbanites would be against coyotes. Interestingly none of these were here before white settlement, when there was a balance of predators/prey of some sort, by definition.

          But you're right, the landscape is too small in scope for stable populations. Not just size but diversity. We are missing a lot of the terrestrial wild animal species found nearby on the mainland, and every time a new species is introduced it throws things off. Just recently the introduced gray squirrels are appearing at my end of the island where I've never seen them before.

          •  Coyotes are never welcome around livestock. (3+ / 0-)

            So your island has more problems than just predator/prey balance.

            Gray squirrels - ugh. Entertaining, but they chase birds away from feeders and cause huge amounts of damage. They can destroy tree-nesting bird populations, too. My favorite sighting of a gray squirrel is one dangling out of a coyote's mouth.

            "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

            by Most Awesome Nana on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 09:53:58 AM PST

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