Urban coyotes are mostly nocturnal, but inner NE Portland residents have seen them in dark alleyways, on busy streets and even wandering along upscale Alameda Avenue with its stately homes and manicured gardens.
Stanley Gerht, associate professor at Ohio State University, studies urban coyotes living in Chicago, and has found that they help keep rats and Canada geese populations under control. Gerht points out that coyotes "have a very healthy fear of us" and pose almost no threat to humans.
According to Audubon, "There has only been one human death attributed to coyote predation in the United States. This occurred in California in the 1970s when a coyote that had been deliberately habituated to human handouts preyed upon his human feeder's three-year-old child. In Oregon the only documented "attack" on a human was a provoked situation in which a man was bitten while attempting to beat a cornered coyote to death with a 2x4. Those incidents that have occurred nationwide most often fall into the category of nips, bites and scratches rather than predatory attacks and almost always follow situations in which the coyote has been deliberately habituated to human handouts."
If you don't purposely feed coyotes, you're unlikely to have problems with them. You can also take these steps to avoid feeding them unintentionally:
* secure trash and compost bins
* remove fruit that has fallen from trees
* keep pet food and small pets indoors
* eliminate opportunities for rats to breed in or around your yard
If you see a coyote in Portland city limits, you can report it to the Urban Coyote Project, a collaborative effort between Portland State University geographers and Portland Audubon Society, by filling out an online form. The purpose of the project is to learn more about urban coyotes and how people respond to them.