Have you seen a coyote in your neighborhood? Portland Urban Coyotes Project
Until the 1940s, coyotes in Oregon were considered somewhat rare west of the Cascades. Coyote sightings in and around Portland (and Beaverton) began in the 1980s and have increased over the past 20 years, something well documented by decades of data from Portland Audubon’s wildlife care center. While most frequently sighted near natural areas, coyotes have also been seen in almost every part of the Portland Metro area.
Coyotes live here
Coyotes are highly adaptive members of the canine family and have demonstrated an ability to survive in the most urbanized environments in cities across North America. In fact, it’s quite normal to see coyotes around town. They aren’t lost. Just like us, they’re running errands in their neighborhood.
Coyotes are about 25-40 pounds, generally hunt and travel alone, and tend to live in family groups made up of the parents and their offspring from multiple years. Thick dense fur can sometimes make coyotes appear larger than they really are.
Are coyotes dangerous?
Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores. They mainly eat small animals (like rodents), fruit, nuts, and food from human sources (like food waste and pet food). As a “top of the food chain” predator species, they also play a valuable role in maintaining healthy ecosystems by controlling other species.
Coyotes generally mind their own business and their presence on urban and suburban landscapes is neither surprising nor necessarily cause for concern; and can be a sign of a healthy and balanced natural ecosystem. Unless habituated to humans, coyotes are generally shy and wary and pose a minimal risk to humans.
Tips and advice
Remove Coyote Attractants – Coyotes get by just fine in hidden places all over the metro area. Do not accidentally or intentionally feed coyotes; it isn’t safe for you, and it isn’t safe for them. Pet food, wildlife feeders, trash, compost, fallen fruit, and brush piles that attract rats can in turn attract coyotes.
If You See a Coyote, Scare It Away! The best way to keep coyotes wild and out of trouble is to help them maintain their natural avoidance of humans. A coyote that is used to being near humans is more likely to cause conflict. We like to clap, shake a can with coins, blow a whistle, or yell, “Move on, coyote!”
Supervise Your Pets – Keep cats and dogs indoors, supervised, or on a leash.
Recognize Unusual Behavior – A coyote that is aggressive, extremely difficult to scare away, or appears severely injured should be reported to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 971-673-6000. A curious coyote does not need to be reported. Just scare it away so it doesn’t get into any trouble.
What to do if you see a coyote – If you see a coyote in Beaverton or the Portland Metro area, please report your sighting to the Portland Urban Coyote Project to help us:
- Track coyote population sizes
- Where coyotes live within the region
- Educate the public on how to coexist with coyotes
The Portland Urban Coyote Project is a joint community-science project with Portland State University and Portland Audubon.
If you would like to learn more or report a sighting by using our interactive map, visit us at www.portlandcoyote.com