Like a Canine Caterwaul (haibun)

At the start, one senses faint laughter; but quick, excited crescendo quickly obliterates intrigue—replaces it with alarmed discomfort. (If laughter were rated G, this discordance would be the X-rated horror variant.)

Screams accost nightfall’s quiet expectation.

Screeches and whoops approach. Our quiet retirement obliterated, having never seen the source of these frightening sounds, we move to see what’s happening outside. Of course, we see nothing.

Turns out (seems) to be howls of a woman in domestic argument . . . perhaps in distress. Or, being attacked by something like a gang of demented gangland night-crawlers. (The mind at max potential.) No, it’s a randomly disturbed person upon some lady or couple. How awful. But, no: soon it’s realized . . . dogs. Yes, an entire pack of dogs . . . but how likely is this, that they would sound that way? They’re killing cats now . . . it’s cats screaming. Oh . . . no, this is simply a cacophony of the beloved coyote!

piercing our cover
grave, canid caterwauling
sundown’s coyote

Beloved Coyote

We’ve seen and heard about coyote throughout our lives—country and city living. They’re around, in both cases, but normally quiet and usually alone. They wander for food in a declining environment.

Coyote can sound much worse than they are threatening, although they can present some danger to smaller animals left out at night. Two or three coyote have the ability to sound like a large pack. They use such signalling as protection and warning.

Turn up the volume!

You can learn more about the coyote by visiting Natural Habitat Adventures, and learn how coyote are beneficial to their environments via the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Featured Image Photo by Plato Terentev on


6 thoughts on “Like a Canine Caterwaul (haibun)”

    1. I’ve seen a few, but never been witness to these kinds of calls until living along this creek (in town). I don’t mind them, but always wonder what’s got them so excited.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I was quite relieved to find that their sounds are primarily a social effort and not nearly (even after I realized they were coyotes) as concerning as they might otherwise be. (Had imagined them running in big packs, but it’s likely only a couple or few if not one.)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yep, it usually sounds like there are more coyotes than in reality. Although that might be part of what helps to keep them safe from other predators as well. But they are an intriguing bunch–coyotes. ^_^

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.