Burlington, Ont. residents may see more coyotes during daytime as mating season begins – Hamilton

Residents of Burlington, Ontario are being warned that coyote mating season has begun, meaning they’re more likely to be out during the day.

It’s news that has added meaning after seven unprovoked coyote attacks on Burlington residents last summer.

The city council voted to enact a coyote response strategy to deal with the attacks and reinforce messages about not feeding wildlife.

Since then, the city’s building director said, there have been no further incidents.

“We’ve been addressing overflowing trash cans in parks and on private property, we’ve started to mitigate the risks from overflowing trash and intentional feeding, and we’ve seen a drastic drop in attacks and we haven’t seen them coming back,” said Nick Anastasopoulos.

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Last year there were no fines for feeding wildlife because there was no actual evidence of who might have left food for the coyotes on local trails, but Anastasopoulos said public relations seemed to be doing the trick.

For this reason, the city continues to highlight the coyote problem in its messages to the public, most recently by raising awareness of the mating season — which is now underway and may result in residents seeing coyotes searching for food or for a mate during the day.

Anastasopoulos said it’s not clear how long the mating season will last as it can vary from animal to animal, but he said it’s seasonal and traditionally begins at the beginning of the year.

Mating season can also overlap with coyotes building burrows, at which point they become territorial.

“At that point, parents become more aggressive in protecting their puppies, just like any domesticated animal,” Anastasopoulos said.

“They make their nests in culverts or ravines so anyone who might be walking by, the parents can come out and interact with an animal or resident, thinking we’re trying to harm their pups.”

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Local residents can help prevent coyotes from visiting their properties by doing the following:

  • Clean up or remove birdhouses that attract rodents, one of the coyote’s main food sources
  • Store trash, compost, and pet food safely in a place coyotes cannot access
  • Install flashing lights, motion sensors and/or sound generators outside of your property
  • Ensure spaces around and below decks and sheds are closed

If you come across a coyote that appears aggressive and approaches you while you’re walking a pet or child, officials recommend these tips:

  • stop, stop and pick up small children or pets
  • Make yourself appear taller by waving your hands in the air, and make noise by shouting, clapping your hands, or whistling
  • Use hazing techniques, like flipping up an umbrella, shaking your keys, or throwing an object near the coyote
  • slowly back and never Run away from or turn your back on a coyote

For more tips on safety when encountering coyotes, visit the City of Burlington’s website.

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