Howling New Year!

To send out this decade on a happy “note” I bring you recordings of my Malamute Conall singing along with some local coyotes.

Coyotes are sometimes called song dogs because they’re so vocal. Their scientific name – Canis latrans – translates as “barking dog.” They possess versatility, with high-pitched howls, barks, and yips in their repertoire. Rural or urban, coyotes make their presence known, usually after dark when they’re most active and communicating with each other.

Here in Idaho’s rural mountains, with virtually no human noise at night, coyotes are easily heard, sometimes so close and visceral that my heart beats faster as I awaken and the hair on the back of my neck rises. And because their calls echo so well, especially on clear nights, what might be one or two coyotes communicating across a distance can sound like entire packs.

I was lucky enough to hear a gray wolf howling in the forest above me, once, soon after moving here in 2005. Very distinctive and easily distinguished from the howl of a coyote. It was midsummer and my bedroom window was open, allowing the wolf’s song to reach my ears. Since being removed from the endangered species list in 2008, allowing them to be hunted and trapped in Idaho, the wolves have retreated much father into the forest. I miss hearing them.

In these two recordings, the coyotes are a ways off so you’ll have to turn up the volume to hear them between Conall’s contributions.

I recorded the first audio at 1:16 am on November 28th. I’ve been trying to record just the calls of the coyotes, which echo and reverberate across the flank of the mountain behind me, but Conall always gets outside first and adds his voice to the mix. You’ll hear me snapping my fingers a couple times to distract him from howling but it didn’t work.

Conall sings with the coyotes.
dog howling
Screenshot from a video of Conall howling at a bugling elk at sunset, August 2018. You can watch the video here.

This second recording is from a few nights ago (December 27th) at 12:49 am. Conall wasn’t in the mood for a singalong and so barked with annoyance instead.

Conall barks at the coyotes.

[Each time I played these audio clips while putting the piece together and previewing it, both my dogs jumped up from their beds in my home office and dashed out the dog door, looking for coyotes!]

Nature’s music – howls and barks, bird song, burbling streams, whispering trees, even thunder – is the best. All of it. Let’s protect it.

Thank you for reading my blog and welcoming me into the WordPress blogging community, my newest family of choice. You all are great and I look forward to meeting more of you in 2020.

Here’s to a barky, yippy, and howlingly-great new year and new decade! Sing!

Feature photo: wolves in fog and trees by hippopx

19 thoughts on “Howling New Year!”

  1. I love that!!! I miss howling with my huskies. ❤ I've had a few good conversations with coyotes. I don't want to do shameless self-promotion but I think you'd like my hiking book. There are many coyotes and songs, some other critters, snakes, owls, even a few humans. It's cheap, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just got your book from Amazon. I’m currently in the midst of an audio book revisit of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series but when that is done I am looking forward to reading yours.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They do indeed!
      My Malamute Maia was always intrigued by wolves on TV. Dogs, coyotes, foxes…no big deal, to her, but if I was watching something showing wolves moving across a landscape, she instantly paid attention and would walk right up to the screen to investigate, without any prompting from me! My other dogs? Not interested in TV canines.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The first time I went on an overnight hike with Sawyer we were all alone in the tent when the coyotes starting singing. I have to admit it scared me a bit and unnerved him as well. When nothing happened to us I got used to later serenades and it doesn’t bother me at all now. When I played your audio, Sawyer didn’t even get up from where he was taking a nap, but Finn started freaking out. He hasn’t had as much time in the woods as his big brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Last time I heard this at the Grand Canyon. I am there with my children and hear the howl far away.

    I went back to sleep, only to be awakened by the howl much closer, and as you say the heart beats faster and the hair stands up on your neck. And the paterfamilias goes immediately into “defend the children” mode.

    I don’t carry any firearms so I am not sure at all what I would defend them with, a jackknife?

    Liked by 1 person

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