Friday, June 3, 2011


This is wildly off the subject but I didn't realize that today, June 3, was Allen Ginsberg's 85th birthday. I found out through Peter Hale's terrific blog, The Allen Ginsberg Project, subtitled, An Allen Ginsberg Gallimaufry, a word I had to look up—"a confused jumble or medley of things." But his blog doesn't seem confused; it has a point (and good photos) and that point is sharing facts and wisdom of the Beat Generation and of everything and one who was spawned from the gluttonous, gymnastic, gyzym of Ginsberg's genius. 

So what got me there? I was searching for a picture of Carl Solomon and what his true role in HOWL, to whom the third section is dedicated, was. I noticed that his Wikipedia page was recently updated, so he still means something to someone, or perhaps to many. He was a crazy sonofabitch but as sane as Ginsberg when they found each other in the sanatorium. They remained friends until the end of Solomon's life.

Carl Solomon and Allen Ginsberg at the West End Bar, 1978, 
(photo found on Peter Hale's blog)

Spanning the great divide of being in NYC with being back in LA is sometimes hard to do. For the first few days when I'm back, I feel numb, dumb, lacking in energy. But what peps me up is finding something that, no matter how distant, bridges the gap between both cities. Rereading Ginsberg's HOWL, the section for Carl Solomon, that speaks so holy and wholey of NYC, woke me up again.

My own HOWL woke me up yesterday, early morning. First the crows making a racket on our railing, then caw caw cawing overhead; 

Crows overhead

Then a swish and movement in Thea's backyard:

I snuck outside along the walkway between our houses, and saw my old neighbor Thea putting two plates of food down on the ground next to the canyon, and a second later, a coyote cautiously approaching...

I would say with almost certainty this is the same coyote I saw in the canyon at this time last year, when it was only a toddler. I worried then that Thea might be feeding it, but never imagined she'd be so blatant, deliberately putting out food for it to guzzle down. And guzzle down it did, indicating it's probably dependent on my neighbor—in her delusions of goodwill and ignorance—for the food it eats.

...but I freaked it out!

Freaked out!

It caught me peeking around the corner to take its picture. For the next hour, it filled the canyon with its growls and barks, howls and HOWLS, pursuing me, through the canyon, to the back of my house (how did it know where I lived?) and approaching in its awkward, frightened, vulnerable, sad way. 

Do I call animal control? Do I let Thea continue feeding it? What is the right thing to do?

You can hear it's yips and yaps, along with the crows, here:


  1. Hi Charlotte --
    A reader posted a link to your HOWL posting as a comment on my coyote blog. It is really unusual coyote behavior. I observe coyote behavior in CA and post what I see. Several people have posted their observations on the blog. I was wondering if you might allow me to re-publish the section of your posting concerning the coyote, along with the video? I would of course link to your own posting. Let me know if you like this idea! Janet

  2. Yes Janet, please post. I just wrote on your blog, which is a great urban wildlife resource, saying the same. I would appreciate any comments about what to do. Of course I have to speak to this neighbor, as everyone has said, but my experience with her is that she does not care; she's a lonely widow and has Snow White syndrome, meaning, she thinks she's "helping" the little animals. Any input you can give me is much appreciated. Thanks.

  3. I really appreciate your letting me republish your article — it’s great writing!

    It is very difficult to talk to people about changing their ways with animals. You might gently let Thea know that “a fed coyote is a dead coyote”, that coyotes often turn around and “bite the hand that feeds them”. You can explain this in terms of shark behavior: Scuba divers often go down to see sharks, protected by metal cages. When on the ocean floor, they encounter sharks and actually feed them — often hand feed them. The problem is that this trains the sharks that around humans, there is food. What happens next is that the sharks begin aggressively demanding food from other unsuspecting divers who then encounter extremely aggressive sharks. The same is true of coyotes. Once coyotes become aggressive, they are almost always put down. Let Thea know that she is actually helping the coyote more by not feeding it.

    If this doesn’t work, there is a woman who is great with this kind of stuff. Her name is Mary Pegliary. We possibly could get her to call Thea. She is part of an organization called She is very soft-spoken, and was recommended to me by human societies in this area specifically to solve this type of coexistence problem. Let me know if you would like to go this route and I’ll try to help.

  4. Wow. A woman who specializes in this problem, amazing! Soft spoken too, as I think it would be hard for me to contain myself. I just went on the website and find this work absolutely fascinating. I will let you know if I want to go that route after speaking to Thea and seeing if I get anywhere myself.

    Thanks so much for getting back to me with such useful info. I will be following your blog and also updating you, through your blog, as to how things are going/or went. Thanks again, and anyone reading this who wants to read a great blog out of San Fran about CA coyotes, please go to:

  5. Hi Charlotte,

    It's Mary Paglieri, Little Blue Society. Janet called my attention to your current issue with your neighbor. I'm a human-animal conflict consultant with a background in animal behavior. I've worked with coyotes for over a decade, studying their natural behavior and also using techniques to modify the behavior of coyotes that have acclimated to humans and human-use areas.

    I read your post and watched the video on your blog. My comments are as follows:
    - Coyotes bark when they are alarmed - the vocalizations show this adolescent was quite fearful of your presence. Aggression is a fear-based response, so please do not approach this coyote again.
    - It's a young, healthy animal, and is most likely hunting as well as coming around for the supplemental feeding. This would indicate one of two things: It is either not finding an adequate amount of natural prey and needs the "help" to get through this season. Or it is an orphaned coyote that is not a proficient hunter - yet.
    - Patience is the best policy in dealing with coyote issues such as this. If Animal Control is called, no doubt, this coyote will be trapped and destroyed. Given time, this coyote will leave on it's own, regardless of whether your neighbor is leaving food or not. Coyotes mature quickly, and it is impossible to "erase" their natural instinct to forage.
    - Numerous studies and my personal observations have shown that wildlife prefer their native prey over non-native food sources - however, if they come across a non-native food source, they MAY take advantage of it, depending on how plentiful their natural prey base is.

    I would continue working on your neighbor in a non-threatening way to help her understand that she may be doing more harm than good. And if you're not successful in getting her to stop - I'm certain that, given time, this coyote will stop coming around on its own. Please keep us abreast of your observations and your progress on this issue.

    Best - Mary

  6. Hi Mary,

    First let me say I appreciate you taking the time to read the post and to comment; i greatly admire what you do from reading your website. What a challenging job you have!

    Second, I am greatly relieved after reading your comments. This morning, I woke up ready to call Thea but after reading your post, I'm going to wait, given this new info. What a relief to know she isn't ruining this pup, or threatening its life, or harming it....that it will eventually go off on its own. Everything you said makes sense, for example, the way the coyote barked at me, one could tell he was scared, threatened by my taking his/her picture. But never for a minute did i feel he would harm me; only, letting me know to stay away. Also, I saw him at Thea's the next day, but I haven't noticed the crows making a ruckus since then, and they indicate when the coyote is around, so perhaps he has foraged on his own recently. This would be good news. And I do believe after reading your comments that when he gets a little older he'll leave the canyon and wander across the road where there are bigger and better pastures for him to hunt (and where other coyotes live).

    Thanks again for your response which has put this whole incident in perspective. I will still talk to Thea but won't bark at her; and I'll let you and Janet at Coyote Yipps know what happens as the summer unfolds. Best, Charlotte

  7. Hi Charlotte,

    Glad my comments helped! I look forward to hearing how the "story" unfolds.

    Take care - Mary