The dogs' hysteria didn't abate one bit when he disappeared from view; they knew he hadn't gone anywhere. About a minute later all three of us were startled/silenced by a loud howl--instantly answered by another identical howl from the other side of the house. I swiveled around and saw a second coyote following the tree line up the hill toward the house. Through the binocs I saw she was a beauty, younger and slimmer than her mate, with white markings on her face. It was obvious they were communicating: I'm here, where are you? Right here! (I'm not sure how the details of age and gender came across but suspect it has to do with my deep attunement to this farm.)
The dogs were racing around the yard going nuts. The second coyote trotted off in the direction of the first, and I'm thinking, TWO coyotes, a mated pair, the first time in ten years I've seen two together. Also, Am I glad I insisted on that six-foot fence around the dogs' yard!
The coyotes left, I called the dogs in. End of story, I hope.
But Fleece and Feste and I have a history of close encounter with a single male coyote on this farm (see my post from May 2, 2009). One dog was bitten and the other chased, with deadly intent in both cases. Ever since, I've kept them on lead or in full view. But I take this as a warning. Had both members of this pair been present at the encounter last May, both dogs would have been killed. Fleece, my white female, weighs almost as much as an eastern coyote, 46 pounds to his 50 or so, but there the comparison ends. Check out the userpic, which will have to do since I'm too cheap to upgrade my account to show you the full-size gory details. The coyote tried to hamstring her. I took this after the vet had cleaned her up and stapled the bite wound.
Coyotes belong on this farm, but I appreciate the message: Stay sharp or else!