Finally! Clear, Up-Close Portraits of a Bernal Coyote


We’ve known for some time that coyotes have settled in Bernal Heights and become our new neighbors. Yet while coyote sightings are now a frequent occurrence, so far many of the photos of the coyotes that we’ve seen have suffered from the Bigfoot Problem — the images have been distant and somewhat grainy.

Over the weekend Bernal neighbor and ace photographer Cristiano Valli tackled that by capturing some of the most stunning and intimate portraits of our coyote-neighbors that we’ve seen thus far. He says:

“[This coyote] lives in the backyard of the cool house on Stoneman at Shotwell. He’s terrified most of the time. Aggressive if cornered. Cute like hell.”

Here are a few more of Neighbor Cristiano’s portraits of our coyote neighbors.



PHOTOS: Cristiano Valli on Instagram

21 thoughts on “Finally! Clear, Up-Close Portraits of a Bernal Coyote

    • here’s where you’re wrong. growing up in italy, the wildest animal I saw is the common rat. so, sorry if even after five years I’m still amazed by stuff you take for granted

    • I fail to see how photographing an animal from a distance in broad daylight is harassing it. You must think the Planet Earth series is straight ecoterrorism.

      • Thank-you, Attenborough for your support of the photos. National Geographic could not have done better at catching the coyote in his surroundings at sunrise. Just beautiful!

      • The coyote is described as terrified, it’s location has now been revealed. The range of opinions regarding “no harm done” is huge.
        Numerous times such a situation in San Francisco has resulted in cruelty or the creature’s death. I saw someone pound a garter snake to death on the Bernal Hill walkway. Why? It was there.
        I think it ought to be re-located so it will perhaps survive.

      • It’s terrified because it’s living in a small park in the middle of a dense metropolis.

  1. We saw him/her (does anyone know?) a week or so ago at Holly Park right around sunrise. It was an awesome moment, and it caught me off guard. I held my dog’s leash a little tighter that morning!

    • I also saw the Coyote in Holly Park last week at around 8:30 am. It kept its distance, but it was clearly there about 50-70 yards away.

      I was much closer to it later in the week during a midnight walk on the hill. While my dog and I were ambling up the pedestrian part of Bernal Heights Boulevard I started noticing a figure moving in the shadows. After noticing it getting closer, I could see it was the coyote. When my back was turned, it would get close, maybe 20 feet away. When I turned to face it, it retreated a few feet and stood at attention. My older, unobservant dog never became aware of it. It was slightly frightening to have it repeatedly approach us. But after facing it a few times I could see that it was small, skittish and not a threat. Still, it was a bit unnerving to be so close to a hungry wolf in the dark, on its turf.

  2. While a beautiful creature…it is wild and a threat to our domestic pets. I no longer leave my small poodle alone outside while I am away. It is too bad as she liked it out there…but I even sense now she doesn’t want to be out there. A coyote was spotted in a backyard just a few streets away:(

    • I sat for hours almost every morning last month, watching their movements. The moment cars, dog walkers start to crowd the hills, they just starts acting trapped, shaking, running in circle, and doing dangerous stuff, like cross the street abruptly. Especially when feels cut out from the northeast side of the hill.

      • I’d call that observant, wary, defensive, or maybe skittish. But terrified is perhaps too anthropomorphic, or at least ascribing the emotion of fear to a wild being. Survival for a wild animal in the city requires vigilance to make sure there is always a way out, an escape path, no surprise encounters with humans. You or I would be terrified to live that way. This coyote showed no signs of that in my encounters.

  3. She’s beautiful and the photographs are excellent! Thanks for capturing her before she’s eclipsed by the petty sniping of the bourgeoisie, and never seen again.

  4. There is no good reason to divulge this creature’s actual living area. It will only serve to have people harass in in the myriad ways humans do. Take the specific street locations out of the story!

  5. I find nothing impressive about exploiting local wildlife in order to gain recognition or readership. Some information just does not need to be shared with the public. Shame on the photographer & Bernalwood editors for divulging locations. I see a previous commentator asked that specific streets be removed and the request ignored.

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