Coyotes: here to stay? Bet on it.
One Faircrest Heights
resident reported seeing a pack of five coyotes in her back yard
last month and, more recently, another encountered a pack of
four strolling down Briar Avenue while he was walking his dog.
Then, this past Monday evening, I saw a lone coyote dart across
Highridge Avenue at Crestview before disappearing between two
houses abutting Billings Park.
This evidently is part
of an increasing presence of Canis latrans in urban areas
as municipalities push out their boundaries and it seems to be
most prevalent in the south end of Ottawa, where coyotes have
been spotted rooting through garbage. This could be due to a
reduced inability to catch their usual prey, such as rabbits and
mice, because of the snow and ice buildup in our parks and other
Should you be
concerned? Some wildlife experts say otherwise but it’s a good
idea to take precautions with children and small pets. Is it
coincidence that we seem to have an increased number of cats
reported “missing” in Faircrest Heights in the past year or so?
I don’t think so, even though cats generally aren’t normal prey
for coyotes. But, again, there is the coyotes’ apparent
difficulty in capturing their usual prey.
Coyotes will take feral
cats or the occasional domestic one which has been left outdoors
or insists on being out. And they will go after small dogs. So
if you hear one barking in your neighbour’s back yard, it might
be worthwhile letting them know about this.
Like other parts of
our municipality, Faircrest Heights has a lot of greenspace
which is an effective corridor for coyotes, which don’t need a
cohesive area such as a single park. They thrive if there’s
enough food and shelter and can have ranges of 40 square
The Urban Coyote
Initiative, which monitors the animals throughout North America,
says that research with more than 1,400 scats indicated that
“the most common food items were small rodents (42%), fruit
(23%), deer (22%), and rabbit (18%).” Only about 2% of the scats
had human garbage and 1.3% showed evidence of cats. “Apparently,
the majority of coyotes in our study area do not, in fact, rely
on pets or garbage for their diets,” the UCI researchers said.
acknowledged that coyotes have become habituated and overly bold
– such as the pack wandering down Briar recently. The homeowner
who saw them said they were almost going door-to-door to check
out whatever might smell good.
John Pisapio, formerly
with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forests (OMNRF)
and now senior wildlife biologist with the Newfoundland &
Labrador Department of Environment & Conservation, once told
The Ottawa Sun that upswings in coyote populations are a
natural phenomenon. "These animals are regarded as being highly
intelligent and adaptable,” he said. “They are here to stay.
They're part of the ecosystem, and they've been part of the
urban landscape for a number of decades too."
OMNRF cautions against
feeding squirrels because as those rodents proliferate they
attract larger predators. A male coyote can weigh up to 20
kilograms, a female up to 18kg.
So what to do if you
encounter a solitary coyote or a pack? For one thing, don’t
approach them. If there’s any indication of interest on their
part, shout and make yourself as “large” as possible. Carry an
umbrella which can be used to frighten the animals when you open
it. Consider a ski pole as a deterrent. And walk away slowly if
that’s a option. Never run because that, as with just about any
canine, is an invitation to chase.
In cases where coyotes
pose a clear threat to you or pets, homeowners can hire an
approved agent (the OMNRF doesn’t do it) to destroy a coyote if
it poses an obvious threat. You can check out that option at
That said, you are legally entitled to protect yourself, family,
pets or property but there’s a catch: Ontario law states that
this must be done “humanely”. The only real option there is a
gun but the OMNRF points out that there are bylaws against
discharging firearms within the City, so they recommend calling
the police if there is an imminent danger.
Summary of FHCA Annual Meeting by Councillor Cloutier (Nov 2017)
Good day, neighbours,
It was a pleasure to
speak with you during the Faircrest Heights Community Association meeting on
Wednesday evening. My colleague, Erin, and I took notes of what we heard that we
may be able to assist with, and have actioned these items. They are:
along the eastern side of Lynda Lane approaching the hospital, and a pothole on
Roger Rd near the intersection of Highridge Rd.
have been sent to Matt Kavanagh in the Roads Services department for review and
stretch of Billings Ave approaching Lynda Lane is quite dark in the evening and
have submitted a service request to have this area reviewed for street lights
are visibility issues due to shrubs and trees at the intersections of Lynda Lane
and Smyth Rd (turning right from Smyth to Lynda) and at Alta Vista Dr and
Faircrest Rd (turning right on Alta Vista from Faircrest)
have forwarded these concerns to Myles Lance in the Forestry department for
review and action
speed limit signs are too infrequent along Smyth Rd
colleague, Riley Carter, with the Transportation Services department will review
to see if more signs are needed based on the OTM and HTA requirements
pedestrian light at the intersection of Smyth Rd and Valour Dr is too infrequent
(crossing Smyth) and is unresponsive when the crossing button is pushed
Carneiro in Transportation Services will review
speed display board (or other traffic calming measures) would be beneficial at
or near the intersection of Pleasant Park Rd and Fairbanks Ave
Charbonneau, our colleague in the Temporary Traffic Calming (TTC) department
will review this area and provide his recommendations for TTC measures for
spring 2018. We have passed the deadline to purchase and install TTC measures
for 2017. The installation season typically begins in May. Our office has a set
budget for TTC measures, which must be spread equitably throughout Ward 18. We
are happy to review any location where you feel TTC measures should be
installed, but cannot guarantee that location will be feasible, or practical
based on equitable distribution. Please be as specific as possible when
requesting TTC reviews, ie. address, facing east, west, north, southbound
traffic etc. so that we can do our best to address your concerns. My collegue
Erin manages our safe street program – she can receive your requests at email@example.com
If we missed any
action items, please do not hesitate to contact my office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org,
or by phoning (613) 580-2488. Even if I am not able to directly address your
concerns, comments, or questions, my team and I will do our best to put you in
touch with the appropriate party, be it MPP John Fraser, MP David McGuinty, or a
department within the City of Ottawa. I would also like to encourage you to
contact my office year-round as issues arise.
You can also keep
up-to-date on activities and news in Alta Vista, and find out about upcoming
community office hours - where you can stop by to speak to me in the
neighbourhood - by subscribing to my weekly newsletter at jeancloutier.com.
Thank you very much for having me out to your community association meeting. It
is my pleasure and privilege to serve the residents of Faircrest Heights.