Coyote Becomes Next Door Neighbor in Northeast Bernal Heights


Neighbor Adrian lives in northeast Bernal, near the eastern side of the Miller-Dogpatch Community Garden. Last week, he was surprised to discover that a coyote had moved in next door.

It’s unclear if this is the same coyote that was spotted in the northeast corner of Bernal Hill last month, but Neighbor Adrian reports:

I saw a couple of articles regarding the coyote sightings on Bernal Hill.  I was hoping to see the wild animal around the hill, since we are up there all the time with our dogs. However, to our surprise, we didn’t have to go to far; It seems a coyote has moved in to an empty lot in front of our home!

Our next door neighbor sent me a text on Thursday to let me know there was a sighting of a coyote near us and to be careful with our dogs. (We have two small dogs) Next thing, on Saturday while on the street with our dogs, we saw the coyote for the first time. He just looked at us and retreated behind the trees and bushes.

On Monday I went check again, and there he was looking back at us, not moving or making any noise — just looking…  which was kind of creepy!


I’m sharing a couple of pictures of the new neighbor. Although they are not very clear (seeing the coyote is more like finding Waldo), it shows how close he is to home .

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Neighbor Adrian

9 thoughts on “Coyote Becomes Next Door Neighbor in Northeast Bernal Heights

  1. Aw, skinny boy must be hungry!

    My friend had his nose bitten by a coyote while sleeping in a chaise lounge outside. Maybe Bernalwood is channeling Hollywood in more ways than the name.

    Stay vigilant.

  2. I find it fascinating to watch non-urban species make small forays into cities. From the peregrine falcons and red-tail hawks that continue to edge closer to urban viability, to raccoons, which are the most successfully adapted non-domesticated city animals, we are presented with a unique opportunity to study adaption in action.

    But coyotes seem doomed to fail. Their cousins have already saturated the urban environment. They haven’t yet discarded parts of their nature that are culturally fatal, like occasionally preying on dogs and cats.

    We humans are quick to talk about how much we love all things “natural,” but we absolutely will not tolerate “nature” if it crosses a very low threshold of inconvenience. Coyotes have teeth and are generally dog-like (even though all dogs are descended from wolves). We can imagine them biting, so they are dangerous. (Although, if you’ve ever seen the business end of a red-tailed hawk up close…)

    And then there are those of us who will love them to death. Over-observe, interfere, anthropomorphize into oblivion…

    I hope these individuals are successful here, if for no other reason than they prey on ground squirrels, gophers, rats, mice and other destructive pests that can use a LOT more population control.

    But, if history is a guide, I don’t think there’s a happy ending for these unique visitors to our little hill.

    Thanks for posting pictures and recording their presence before they’re gone.

    • If the attacks on small dogs at Stern Grove and Glen Canyon are any kind of guide, I wouldn’t call our concern “a very low threshold of inconvenience.” Many of us with dogs large and small are accustomed to giving our dogs plenty of time to run and play off leash at parks around town that allow that sort of thing, and the prospect of having our dogs mauled by a new coyote neighbor seems like just cause for alarm. I find coyotes fascinating, and I don’t like knowing that they’re living in our neighborhoods. Doesn’t seem like any kind of contradiction to me. What next? Invite in some cute little bears?

      • Nothing I said disparaged dog owners for wanting to keep their dogs safe. How that safety is achieved is beyond my pay grade.

        One thing to keep in mind when you are worried about your dog’s safety: I haven’t seen reliable statistics regarding the number of coyote attacks on dogs. But I guarantee the number of dog-on-dog and dog-on-human attacks are each far greater.

        Safety is in the teeth of the beholder, no?

  3. Actually, coyotes are thriving in urban areas in all parts of the US and the numbers of coyotes in urban areas continue to increase (as we are seeing here in SF). In urban areas coyotes live longer and live in greater densities than in rural areas, suggesting that urban areas might even be preferable habitat for the species. One study attributed this to the lack of coyote hunting in urban areas and the prevalence of ground cover (bushes, trees) year round, as opposed to rural (mainly agricultural) areas. As it is, the primary source of mortality for a coyote is being hit by a car.

    I don’t see coyote hunting ever becoming common (or allowed at all) in urban areas, leaving the population control to intentional animal control efforts. So far, urban areas have shown limited to no interest in engaging in any serious population control. One reason is because of the benefits you describe: coyotes are pretty good at controlling other species’ populations. While they can harass and attack pet dogs and cats, they rarely attack humans and ultimately pose little to no threat to humans.

    The question is whether the dog and cat conflict will result in any serious effort to eradicate them from urban areas in the future. It hasn’t happened yet, decades after coyotes really started to expand their territory, and I don’t see that changing. Rather than doomed to failure, I think the species is marked for success in urban areas.

    That means we need to figure out how to live with them. First rule: don’t feed them and don’t engage them. Second rule: keep your dogs on leashes and your cats inside. Third rule: take lots of pictures. Thanks for the awesome shots!

  4. He’s very skinny, he must be starving. could be why he’s not to afraid, looking for food. maybe he got lost from the group of coyotes in Glen Park. I hope he’s safe up there.

  5. never heard of Miller-Dogpatch Community Garden.
    is that where all the steps are leading down to Cesar Chavez?

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