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Sunflower Seeds by coyotes as a Food Source in W. Kansas

coyote studies

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Sunflower Seeds by coyotes as a Food Source in W. Kansas

Postby Coyotehunter » Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:00 am

Coyote, Canis latrans, Use of Commercial Sunflower, Helianthus spp., Seeds as a Food Source in Western Kansas
Results

We found 23 Coyote scats during our systematic searches of the study area. Based on the buffered locations of scats, we believe these represented a minimum of seven individual Coyote family units. The mean scat weight was 12.84 g (SD = 8.92).
Mammals were the most frequently occurring food item in Coyote diets (Table 1). Overall, 10 families and 16 genera of mammals were identified as food items. Commercial sunflower seeds were second in frequency (39%). In 4 of 9 (44%) scats that we found containing commercial sunflower seeds, seed remains constituted ≥30% of the volume; with an overall mean of 31%. The broken shells of commercial sunflower seeds occurred in 7 of 18 scats collected in April and 2 of 5 scats collected in July. Eight of the nine scats containing sunflower seeds were found in the northern portion of the study area. Insects occurred frequently in the Coyote diet, representing two orders and four families. Birds occurred infrequently in the scats; bird remains consisted only of small broken feather shafts, and thus no species could be identified.
Table 1. Frequency of occurrence (n) and percent frequency of occurrence (%) of prey items found in 23 Coyote scats collected in western Kansas during April-July 1996.

1 The overall frequency of occurrence of plants does not include the grass or other seeds categories. Grass was excluded because its nutritional value in the Coyote diet is questionable (Fichter et al. 1955). The other seeds category was excluded because the seeds occurred in trace amounts and ingestion was likely incidental to consuming other foods (e.g., seed-eating prey item).


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Postby rhino » Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:17 pm

This is interesting. I tend to see coyotes hanging around harvested sunflower fields. I originally thought maybe since the deer herds are around there in the winter they follow the deer. which still might be the case but it is interesting they like sunflowers.


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Postby Coyotehunter » Wed Jan 10, 2007 2:47 pm

In Arizona they eat alot of Cedar Berries and Texas they can ruin entire watermelon fields in a night. They will run down a row crossing a field and bite into several watermelons on the way through. Kind of like a fast food restuarant. They destroy the whole watermelon and they typically do not stay to eat the whole thing just a bite as they go by.


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Postby lyonch » Sun Jan 14, 2007 1:51 pm

i finally had a chance to read some of these articles today and wow are they educational and interesting. Thanks for posting them jamie


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Postby Coyotehunter » Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:24 pm

glad you like them.


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Postby Jerry Hunsley » Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:59 pm

As all of you know, coyotes eat many things besides rabbits. In fact they are omnivores, meaning eating anything and everything. If I wouldn't have seen this with my own eyes , I would not have believed somebody if they told me they saw 20coyotes in a sunflower field. This was about 5 years ago and me and a partner came up over a hill above his house and there they were . 20 of them all in little groups spread out over the whole field. This was a huge sunflower field , if I had to guess it was about a section or more. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground and you could see them scratching through the snow. We tried calling and not takers. It was a site , I'll never forget. I wish I had a camera or cam-corder. It is a general rule down here in South Dakota: Find sunflower fields and you find coyotes. It is a good source of protein and fat I believe for them to survive hard winters. This sort of shoots the theory of terrietorial boundaries huh?


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Postby Prairie Ghost » Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:29 pm

It's a pretty good rule around here also especially when it isn't harvested yet i just don't like how tough the stalks are on the fur :cry:
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Postby Coyotehunter » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:07 am

20 coyotes, WOW. What month?


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Postby Prairie Ghost » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:35 am

That is impressive was a time of extreme cold?
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Postby Coyotehunter » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:50 am

I would imagine it is no different then a dead cow that all the neighboring coytes are coming to take there turn on. I have talked with Watermelon ranchers that have seen the same thing. I do not know about 20 in one section but in the cover of darkness a guy could only imagine.


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Postby Jerry Hunsley » Wed Feb 21, 2007 7:22 pm

Jamie, If my memory serves me right , I think it was in Janurary and it was really cold. There was also about a foot of snow on the ground.


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Postby Coyotehunter » Wed Feb 21, 2007 7:30 pm

What a sight. My dad and brother got to see 13 on one stand. The most I have called in to one stand was 8 about a year ago. I have had 5 on stand many times but I have never seen anything close to that at one location. That must have been something.
Last edited by Coyotehunter on Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:46 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Postby Jerry Hunsley » Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:26 pm

Jamie, I wished I had been into videoing then. That would have been some good footage. Got one coyote a couple days ago using my dog. She came right into him. I wished it would just stay cold. I hate this muddy crap. The only time you can go calling now is early in the morning before it starts thawing. The last few days it has been warm early in the morning. My pickup was a mess when I got home. Ranchers around here don't like you driving around when it's muddy.


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