Among the hundreds of coyotes studied as part of the Cook County Coyote Project, a few individuals stand out either by the quantity of time they spent in the study, their incredible life stories, or their appearance in national media. The goal of introducing these specific animals is to give insight into the daily lives of coyotes in various environments and situations. Although these individuals are highlighted, they are not so different than the majority of animals that are being tracked when considering basic coyote ecology. Click on each animal for their full stories and to see additional photos and maps.
An ultimate, urban animal, Coyote 748 was fitted with a GPS-style tracking collar in the Bronzeville area of Chicago on February 24, 2014. At his capture, it was obvious he was of breeding age and once a few radio-locations were collected, we realized we had collared a resident coyote with an established territory. He seemed to go about his daily routine in a low-profile fashion, taking to the busy streets nightly without fail. In April, his normal quiet behavior turned aggressive towards dogs as people walked their pets through a specific area.
Coyote 736 was a healthy, young male that was trapped and collared on the southwest side of Chicago on June 2, 2013. His tail had a unique deformity — short, with a twist that resembled a pug's tail, so beginning his nickname of "Pug" (although we don't normally name coyotes, sometimes nicknames help our researchers communicate with the media when referring to animals). We were very excited to learn from this animal given his location. Pug traversed some of the most urban, rugged streets of Chicago and didn't seem to draw attention anywhere.
Coyote 571 was a coyote who beat the odds, every time. She was captured first in December 2011, not yet a year old. Given her young age class and healthy appearance, she was fitted with a standard radio-collar and we stood back to see what her story would be. 571 turned out to be an amazing suburban animal. Although she did not navigate downtown Chicago streets, the Hoffman Estates/Schaumburg (IL) suburbs can often be an equally challenging network of traffic patterns (for human or animal).
Coyote 441 is one of the most successful urban coyotes we have observed. This female was captured near the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago on March 10th, 2010. At the time of capture, she was a subadult in excellent condition, weighing 11 kg. A GPS collar was placed on her and we recorded her locations until November 2010 when her collar blew off (these collars are programmed to remotely fall off at a specified time).
Coyote 434 is a good example of how human behaviors, such as feeding wildlife, can result in coyotes becoming a nuisance. 434 was captured on February 18, 2010, in a marsh surrounded by a subdivision and miles of urbanization. She was a young female, approximately 10 months old, and weighed 13.1 kg. Although this was the peak of the breeding season, she was not in breeding condition. A GPS collar was placed on coyote 434, which means that she was located by satellites on an intensive schedule (at times, this was every 10 minutes, other times every hour).
We were not able to capture the first mate of Coyote 1 prior to his death (likely from a vehicle), but we captured her second mate, Coyote 115, on February 18, 2004, at the peak of the mating season. Coyote 115 was in excellent condition at 18 kg (40 lbs). He remained with Coyote 1 constantly until her death in 2010. Their relationship was interesting to observe, where at times they were inseparable, and other times they would take short breaks from each other. Still, they defended the same territory together continuously after 115’s collaring date.
Coyote 1 was the first coyote captured on the project, on March 22, 2000, and has become the signature coyote of our research. When she was originally captured, she was just a year old and solitary. She weighed 13 kg (about 29 lbs), and was in excellent health, if not a little on the small side. In coyote years, she was a teenager. We tracked her movements over portions of five cities for the next nine months, as she floated across the landscape looking for a territory.