She was the
first coyote captured on the project, on March 22,
and has become the signature coyote of the
project. When she was originally captured, she was
a young, 1-year-old coyote and was solitary. She
weighed 29 lbs, and was in excellent health, if not
a little on the small side. In coyote years, she
was a teenager.
her movements over portions of 5 cities for the next
8 to 9 months, as she floated across the landscape
looking for a territory. Eventually,
she settled down with an uncollared male during
early 2001, and started the Meacham Pack. She has
been an alpha female ever since, and we have been
fortunate to follow her every year. She is
obviously very street smart, given that her
territory covers many, many busy roads.
One of 7 pups from Big Mama and Coyote 115's
litter in 2004
watched her cross 8 lanes of traffic on I-290 when
she was a yearling, and all of us have watched her
and her mate cross roads regularly at night.
was recaptured on April 12, 2004 (after months of
trying on our parts) as a mature, pregnant female.
Again, she was in excellent health, weighing in at
37.5 lbs. She is now a 9-year-old, one of the
oldest coyotes in our study.
We were not
able to capture her first mate prior to his death
(likely from a vehicle), but we were able
to capture her mate, Coyote 115, on February 18,
2004 (thanks to Bill), at the peak of the mating
was in excellent condition at 40 lbs. He has been
with Big Mama constantly since that date. They are
similar to many married couples, where at times they
are inseparable, and other times they take short
breaks from each other, but they have defended the
same territory together continuously since 115ís
capture date (over 4 years). Over that time, they
have had at least 4 litters together, with both
parents helping to raise the young.
They live in a
heavily-developed area within a few miles from
OíHare International Airport.
Yellow dots are locations of Big Mama, and red
dots are locations of her mate, #115.
Below are the home range boundaries of Big Mama and
Coyote 115, plus their offspring born in 2006. Each
color represents a different coyote, all were radiotracked in 2007. Click on the map for a larger