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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Coyotes Becoming Seattle

Posted by on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 8:38 AM

This was posted a few weeks ago in the Atlantic's blog Cities:

Last week, on a Seattle winter evening, my dog and I stood at a neighborhood street corner in a spontaneous meeting with an urban coyote who, for several moments, owned my neighborhood pavement with conviction. Upon rounding a corner and coming face-to-face, the coyote cast a long stare (with those "I am not a pet" eyes I once saw in Africa), turned around, and moved on. For this feral, walkable urbanist, the city sidewalk was clearly as customary a migration route as wooded paths or the open plain.
The point the blogger Charles R. Wolfe makes in the post is that cities are being transformed into their opposite, nature, by two mediums: self-domesticated humans and wild animals. Humans are deliberately returning parts of their built environment to nature, and nature in the form wild animals is more and more becoming a part of the urban. (The other day I saw a whole bald eagle in a tree above Magnolia Park.) My only problem with Wolfe's post is the distinction he makes between nature and the urban. The urban is as natural as nature, as a beaver's dam, or the soil of worms. The city is just a niche constructed by and for the human animal. The most amazing thing in the post, then, is not its insight but that a coyote was seen on the sidewalk. This is amazing because sidewalks were made with only humans in mind. Yet they also appear to afford coyotes.

As for the "eyes I once saw in Africa" comment, today I will give it a rest.


Comments (28) RSS

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Matt from Denver 1
Spotting a bald eagle in a huge park by a large lake that's not far from an oceanic inlet isn't that amazing. What's amazing is seeing one in an urban backyard, perched on a telephone poll and far from significant green spaces or bodies of water, as I did recently.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 26, 2013 at 8:50 AM · Report this
Pithy Name 2
I see at least one bald eagle every day, when I drive across 520.
Posted by Pithy Name on February 26, 2013 at 8:52 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 3
Whoops, I read "Magnolia Park" as "Magnuson Park." Magnolia Park is right on Elliott Bay and geographically close to Discovery Park, however, so that doesn't really change my point.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 26, 2013 at 8:53 AM · Report this
hi charles, i am going to research african cities and see which ones have good transit systems because i am just curious about it it just popped into my mind that i did not know shit about transit systems in african metropolitan areas.
Posted by tim koch on February 26, 2013 at 8:55 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 5
There's a kid's playground about 200 feet from my apartment's balcony. I see coyotes walk through there at least one night every week. They probably eat the prairie dogs that are everywhere out here.
I see hawks and other raptors every day.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Fnarf 6
I see bald eagles every damn day near Green Lake. And I've seen them on telephone poles. Damn things are getting to be a pest; they fuck with my darling crows.
Posted by Fnarf on February 26, 2013 at 9:08 AM · Report this
Took this photo a year ago of a coyote in the parking lot, Kent East Hill:…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 26, 2013 at 9:27 AM · Report this
GeneStoner 9
LoL. The Libs think that the Green (kill urbanity) movement has only good consequences...

He should have thrown a non-recycled plastic bottle at the thing and chased it off.

Posted by GeneStoner on February 26, 2013 at 9:28 AM · Report this
bald eagles recently started nesting here in san diego county (we've always had golden eagles)
Posted by neoanderthal on February 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM · Report this
Am I the only one that read the headline and thought this post was gonna be about hockey?

Yes? Okay. ._.
Posted by stealingzen on February 26, 2013 at 9:32 AM · Report this
treacle 12
I've only seen parts of bald eagles in the city, I long to see a whole one.

I once watched a fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) plant growing from between the cracks in the outside window ledge on the 10th floor of a building downtown. Bold plant, what with all the wind up there, but it was there for years. Great view though, and pretty flowers.

Don't forget the peregrin falcons living on WaMu tower.
Posted by treacle on February 26, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
seandr 13
today I will give it a rest.


Coyotes show up in Volunteer Park on a fairly regular basis. I encountered one while walking my dog on a really foggy morning - he trotted right past us about 40 feet away, crossed 15th, and headed east down the middle of Highland St. Unlike with other dogs, my dog didn't want to go near the coyote.
Posted by seandr on February 26, 2013 at 9:40 AM · Report this
gttrgst 14
I read the headline and thought this was a hockey post. Shlemko for the "I am not a pet" eyes.
Posted by gttrgst on February 26, 2013 at 9:40 AM · Report this
seandr 15
@12: Last time I was in NYC, we were walking through Central Park and came by a group of people surrounding a telescope. They were taking turns viewing a couple of falcons (forget which type) who had made a home on a nearby building.
Posted by seandr on February 26, 2013 at 9:42 AM · Report this
What the hell is a "whole bald eagle"?
Posted by bigyaz on February 26, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 18
Possums, skunks, raccoons, squirrels...everywhere prey. I see three different birds of prey here regularly. Two kinds of hawks and a falcon. But my favorites are the jays. A pair takes over our yard every spring. They run off all the other birds. Then they calm down and everybody comes back. Wildlife rocks!
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 26, 2013 at 10:03 AM · Report this
orange&black 19
@11. Exactly what I thought.
Posted by orange&black on February 26, 2013 at 10:22 AM · Report this
Cracker Jack 21
@15: Red Tails.
Posted by Cracker Jack on February 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM · Report this
@17, not just half a bald eagle, I guess?
Posted by JenV on February 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM · Report this
If you're close to the Duwamish you also get Ospreys. I've even seen them with fish in their talons heading back to their nest.
Posted by Westside forever on February 26, 2013 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 23
@ 12, the very first bald eagle that I ever saw just flying around free was in Seattle. (Well, it was that wooded slope that the 509 traverses as it rises out of the Duwamish valley, so not exactly the most urban part of Seattle, but still.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 26, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Fnarf 24
@22, I saw a bald eagle strike a fish in Green Lake, right in front of me, maybe fifteen feet. Scared the crap out of me, because you don't see him coming, but when he comes he's moving really fast and he's the size of a bus with his wings extended and rotating and BAM he hit the water and was off with his fish in his talons. Which are HUGE.

I've never even seen that up at our place on the Stilly, where there are always a dozen Baldies skulking around during the chum runs, when the river is full of literally thousands and thousands of fish, and the corpses are everywhere, even in the trees.
Posted by Fnarf on February 26, 2013 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Saw a big ass bird eating something on the shore of the Duwammish last week. Was NOT a buzzard.
Posted by pupuguru on February 26, 2013 at 11:03 AM · Report this
"This is amazing because sidewalks were made with only humans in mind. Yet they also appear to afford coyotes."

Is this humor or just plain dross?
Posted by anon1256 on February 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Your overly domesticated. The density dream that I think we both want needs a huge dose of anarchy and possibly a states rights scenario to get set in motion. We could start by spending half of all taxes on the acquisition of public land. Our greatest examples of architecture are homeless shelters; good. The only real wealth is in the land; our only human right. All of the best real-estate in Seattle should be made public and rewilded. Puget sound could easily feed and employ our hobo population if we let it heal. Your people would rather enslave the poor before letting them fish.
Posted by ry coolage on February 26, 2013 at 12:55 PM · Report this
I see like 20 seagulls almost every day at my house. oh and crows too.
Posted by ry coolage on February 26, 2013 at 1:00 PM · Report this
dirac 30
Urbanity as currently implemented is contra nature. Just as free, well-planned transit in Europe is great. It's just not happening in the Western US.
Posted by dirac on February 26, 2013 at 1:44 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 31
@9- Greens want urban density. You're really ignorant.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on February 26, 2013 at 5:20 PM · Report this

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