Sightings of the coyote who lives on Bernal Hill have become a routine occurrence, and with increasing frequency comes a growing sense of familiarity. No longer an exotic new arrival, many Bernal residents now regard the coyote as just another neighbor.
Neighbor Doug describes an experience with the coyote last week:
We came upon the coyote at the upper gate of Bernal Hill at 5:55 AM, and he followed us down past the lower gate almost to the big intersection on the east end of the hill (almost 15 minutes later). He tried playing with my dogs almost the whole way, frequently bounding up within 10 ft. of us. He REALLY wanted to play.
Neighbor Doug also shared this video of the encounter:
Late last night, your Bernalwood editor saw a coyote ambling down the middle of the road as I was driving along the south side of Bernal Hill. He seemed very comfortable there. But that’s nothing compared to what a few Bernal neighbors saw on Monday morning around the same location: An epic battle between a coyote and a snake.
Here’s an amazing video of the battle, shared by Neighbor Santiago:
Neighbor Bruce saw it too, from a slightly different angle. He says:
We came upon the Bernal Coyote (or he came upon us) just after 9am on Monday morning, on Bernal Heights Blvd., close to the stairs that descend to Gates St.
Here’s a video of the coyote hunting a mid-morning snake snack. It’s little bit of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom right here in Bernal!
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
Bernalwood has received several reports of coyote sightings in northeast Bernal Heights during the last few days, and most of them have been charming. But today, Neighbor Jeff writes about a more aggressive encounter along Bernal Heights Boulevard that took place early this morning:
Wanted to report that the coyote living on Bernal Hill attempted an attack this morning at 5:30.
I was walking my dog along Bernal Heights Boulevard when I spotted the coyote standing on the hilltop watching us. As we continued toward Folsom St., the coyote followed us along the ridge, then sprinted down the hill and charged us.
I stopped and turned to face it as it held its ground about 15 feet away.
I then started to yell at it very loudly to try and scare it off. My third yell had some success as it scampered across the road and jumped the road barrier. But then it jumped over the barrier and charged us again. This time coming up about 10 feet away from us and getting ready to pounce.
At that point, a car came down the road and conveniently scared it away.
We were very lucky.
My dog is a 130 lb Mastiff, so this would not have been easy pickings for the coyote. It was incredibly bold and aggressive.
IMAGE: Coyote on grassy slope on Alabama just below Bernal Heights Boulevard, March 8, 2016. Photo by Judy Ko.
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
Since a coyote was first spotted on Bernal Hill last Monday, there have been more reports of sightings. For now, it seems as if the coyote has taken up residence here, primarily in the northeast portion of the hilltop. We are honored.
Neighbor Carolyn shared some photos of the coyote, taken this morning:
My husband and I were walking our dog around Bernal this AM (7:45-8:15) and saw the coyote! It really was an incredible sight to see. The coyote was walking around the hill from the northwest-northeast side.
However, Neighbor Ben says he has a bad feeling about this:
Coyote was back this morning. Monday it seemed to be staying up towards the top of the ridges, but today was moving up and down the hill crossing the road several times. This attracted a lot more attention from the dogs, including a larger pit-mix that chased it in a manner that didn’t look very playful.
I think the dog population is a lot higher than when we had coyotes here ten years ago. Based on today’s events it doesn’t seem like a stable situation.
PHOTOS: Coyote on Bernal Hill by Neighbor Carolyn, taken on Jan. 27, 2016
Yesterday, the Bernalwood Office of Wildlife Affairs received several confirmed reports of a coyote sighting from multiple locations on Bernal Hill. The photo above was taken on Bernal Hill yesterday by @nataliacosa, and it’s so amazing.
Neighbor Jim captured a photo of the coyote on the hill at 10:15 am, “just above the art rock,” he says. (Specifically, it looks like the slope on the northeast face that riders at Ski Bernalwood call “Buckeye.”)
And here’s what Neighbor Chris saw at about 9 am, near the quarry on the southwest side:
Now, if we can set aside spirit animals and natural wonder for a moment… it’s time for a Public Safety Announcement. The coyote on Bernal Hill is awe-inspiring, but it also means humans with dogs — and especially, small dogs — should be vigilant. We encourage you to re-read these important tips from a local coyote whisperer on how to navigate coyote-canine encounters.
UPDATE: Neighbor Jengis documented another coyote sighting today, Jan. 26, at about 10:20 am around “the wilds near Waltham and Alabama”: