Coyote sightings are not uncommon in the Niagara Region. They have been a vital part of our ecosystem for many years. By applying common sense, preventative techniques and by being aware of the diversity of wildlife that we share our living spaces with, we can minimize human and wildlife conflict. When coyote sightings increase many times these sightings are due to humans intentionally or unintentionally providing a food source. An over flowing bird feeder, mishandling of compost, and fallen fruit attract a diverse range of prey species such as rodents, squirrels, chipmunks, insects which coyotes will utilize as food. Consider that the birds and small mammals that frequent bird feeder stations are potential prey food for other predator species such as owls, hawks, fox and domestic pets.
Report a coyote or fox sighting
If you would like to report a sighting, visit the Wildlife Sighting Form.
What can I do about a coyote that frequently visits my backyard?
- Report coyote sightings above.
- Check your property for wildlife attractants.
- Report any known feeding of coyotes to the City of Niagara Falls.
Human indifference is not an appropriate response to a coyote getting comfortable around areas that people frequent. Never allow a coyote to linger or bed down near your home or business. Print and follow the Wildlife Proofing Quick Tips pdf available above.
Applying simple low intensity hazing techniques will send a clear message to a coyote that they are not welcomed.
- Yelling in a firm voice while outdoors “Go away coyote!”, banging pots, spraying a water hose (in warmer months), throwing objects towards not at the coyote, using a shake can, popping open an umbrella can be effective deterrents to safely move a coyote away.
- Battery-operated flashlights, tape-recorded human noises, and ammonia soaked rags may deter coyotes from entering onto your property.
What do I do in a Coyote Encounter?
If a coyote is near:
- Pick up small children and pets
- Never run from or turn your back on a coyote/domestic dog
- Wave your arms above your head
- Be BIG and LOUD! Yell "Go away!"
- Slowly back away
- Use hazing techniques such as shaking car keys, popping an umbrella, throwing an object in the direction of the coyote.
- Always be prepared and aware of your surroundings when enjoying the outdoors. Be a good visitor "leave no trace". Carry out leftover food, garbage and dog feces.
Seasonal behaviour that may elevate coyote sightings
Winter during mating periods (Jan-Feb), Spring during den selection/pup rearing (Mar-June) and Fall during dispersal of pack members will also affect the number of sightings a resident observes a coyote. By promoting respect, compassion and safety education throughout our community about these intelligent, adaptable keystone species, we can safely coexist with coyotes. Adhere to important By-Laws for the City of Niagara Falls including the Coyote Anti Feeding By-Law that is in place.
- Never feed coyotes. Our best defence is not to habituate them. We need to keep them wild and wary of people. This is the best way to protect our pets and ourselves. The few documented cases of coyote-inflicted wounds on humans occurred as a result of humans feeding a coyote.
- Keep pet food and water bowls indoors. Pet food will attract coyotes to your yard.
- Keep trash cans covered.
- Pick ripened fruit, and clean all rotted fallen fruit off the ground.
- Do not allow a large amount of wild bird seed to remain on your lawn. Bird seed not only attracts birds, but rabbits, squirrels, and rodents, which are prey for coyotes.
- Keep pets under strict control. Coyotes are most active between the hours of dusk and dawn. Therefore, leash all dogs and accompany them for walks. Keep pets indoors at night or enclosed in kennels.
- Owls, hawks, eagles, fox, including coyotes can prey on smaller pets such as cats and dogs. Accompany your pets outdoors after dusk, especially in backyards (unfenced and fenced) and on a leash, minimizes such encounters.
- Cats may become prey for coyotes. Pet owners should protect pets and not let them roam. Our pets are at risk of many environmental dangers when they are not under our control. Coyotes may prey on small domestic animals as food and to eliminate a threat to their territory or pups. Domestic dogs can be considered competition for food items at locations where humans are feeding coyotes.
- Keep cats indoors. Letting cats roam can actually draw coyotes into the area.
- Keep chickens, rabbits and other small animals in covered enclosures, constructed with heavy mesh wire. Coyotes, raccoons and weasels can break through chicken coop wire.
- Neuter pets. Although a rare occurrence, coyotes may mate with domesticated dogs.
- Do not approach coyotes. Avoid coyote dens, and do not interfere with pups, even if it appears the parents have abandoned them. Coyotes will do their best to avoid human contact, but may attack humans when provoked, sick or injured.
- Teach children about wildlife and how to safely respond to coyote (or dog) nearby.
- Respect, compassion and education are common sense tools that nurture safe and healthy human and wildlife families.
Co-Existing with Coyotes used with permission from Coyote Watch Canada.