Residents in northwest concerned about coyotes
Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 06:00 am
A number of residents in northwest Airdrie are concerned about coyotes in the Williamstown area.
Michelle Halmo walks her two children to Herons Crossing School through the Williamstown environmental reserve and she has seen two coyotes in the area a number of times.
“The first time we saw them, my six-year-old daughter was scared and she had a few nightmares,” said Halmo.
“She didn’t want to walk after that until I started carrying bearspray and an airhorn.”
Halmo said she has taught her daughter and son, 8, to try and scare away the dogs by yelling and waving their arms and to go to the nearest house if they can, but she added she is worried about some younger children who walk to school by themselves.
“I am most concerned for children who take this path alone. I really hope their parents are giving them the tools and teaching them what to do to be safe,” she said.
Halmo said she understands that we as humans have inhabited the coyotes’ area but said she worries about some “unusual” behaviour from the nocturnal animals.
“We have seen them hang around here all day on days where it is really cold and that is out of character for them,” she said.
“Residents with dogs have also noticed a stalking behaviour.”
Kevin Brinson, Parks team lead for the City of Airdrie, said the unusual behaviour could be due to fact that it is mating season for the animals right now.
“The male may travel up to five kilometres to find a female and can be very aggressive to other dogs because of this,” he said.
He added Williamstown is a perfect area for the animals to live because there are many small animals to hunt and a ready water source
“When it comes right down to it, they are more scared of you than you are of them so make sure you are making noise and letting your presence be known if you see some coyotes while you are walking,” said Brinson.
Williamstown resident Tamara Laschinsky said she is also concerned about children who walk through the community’s nature reserves to get to Herons Crossing School.
“So many youngsters walk that way to school as the pathways are their only option other than crossing Highway 567,” said Tamara Laschinsky.
“I’m sure they don’t realize the dangers.”
Brinson suggested residents ensure they have not left any dog or cat food in their yards as this can attract coyotes. He also recommends against bird feeders and leaving trash outside.