What to Do When You Encounter Portland’s Urban Coyotes
Urban coyotes are active in PDX from early fall through late spring, meaning now is prime time for coyote sightings. Contrary to common belief, coyote sightings in urban environments are not uncommon, and Portland is no exception! Recently, the Portland area has seen an increased number of Coyote sightings.
In Northwest Portland, in particular, residents have reported frequent sightings along NW Cornell Road and NW Beuhla Vista. According to the Southeast Examiner, “In November, Washington County 911 (WCCCA.com), was inundated with increased 911 calls regarding coyote sightings that resulted in media coverage.” And the sightings continue!
In the past few weeks, several media accounts have noted urban coyote sightings from various neighborhoods in Portland. The Urban Coyote Project has recorded sightings from the Richmond neighborhood to the Kenton district, begging the question, Could your neighborhood be next?
Everything You Need to Know About Urban Coyote Sightings
Although seeing a coyote near your home can be alarming, it’s important to be aware of what to do, what not to do, as well as coyote reporting protocol. While your initial instinct might be to pick up the phone and dial 911, the police department is urging Portland residents to refrain from dialing 911, as that ties up emergency resources.
Don’t Pet the Coyotes
It’s important to note that actively aggressive coyotes are not the norm; rather, coyotes are often considered to be more of a nuisance than a source of harm. By nature, coyotes are wary of humans. According to the Portland Audubon Society, “Numerous myths about dangers associated with coyote activities have become established in the public’s mind as factual, and have been perpetuated as a result of repetition by media and the public at large.”
So what do you need to do to properly, and safely, respond to a coyote sighting in your neighborhood? The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests the following tips for minimizing potential conflicts with coyotes:
• Do not leave small children unattended outdoors if coyotes have been frequenting the area.
• Feed pets indoors and do not leave pet food or water bowls outside.
• Supervise pets when they are outside.
• Do not leave cats or small dogs out after dark.
• Secure garbage and garbage cans in an area inaccessible to wild animals.
• Trim and clear vegetation that provides cover for coyotes or their prey.
• Clean barbecues regularly.
Hit Pause: What Not to Do When You Encounter a Coyote
When you see a coyote in your neighborhood, do not approach the animal. Do not feed a coyote, and be sure to teach your children to respect the coyotes from a distance. Most importantly, do not aggravate the animals when you see them outside your home. Your strongest change of avoiding conflict with a coyote is to choose not to confront the animal, and whenever possible, to avoid the animal by staying indoors in a secure location.
Preparing for Coyote Sightings in Portland
If you’re still concerned over a potential coyote encounter in your Portland neighborhood, the Portland Audubon Society and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) are great resources for finding information regarding coyotes.
Whether you want additional resources for how to report Portland coyote sightings, or you’re curious about tips for living with coyotes in your neighborhood, these seasoned wildlife sites are great tools that keep animal’s health and your safety as top priorities.