I hope no one is bored with my jibber jabber about the wildlife. I find it fascinating, but I know it is one of those things where you kind of have to be there to get the full effect.
The ravens have been doing a pretty good job of not dropping meat into the horses' water troughs this past month or so. They recognize my hot pink rock scoop and slingshot, so as soon as I walk out of the house with one of those in my hand, they take off. However, I discovered something really interesting. Instead of "storing" their meat in the water troughs, they are now storing it in the sand of the arena. They are burying the animals they kill, and coming back later to unbury them and carry them to their nests. I guess they figured out that they lose their food if they drop it in the troughs, because I immediately dump out the dirty water, clean and refill the trough.
The aggressive male coyote has managed to stay away for the longest period of time yet. I guess I really freaked him out by chasing him out into the desert while cracking a long whip at him. Also, my husband trimmed the hedge by our front door so that no animals could hide there and ambush us. However, there are plenty of other coyotes who have been coming around. One night I was dumping manure into the manure pile next to the round pen and found a skinny coyote standing right next to me on the other side of the round pen panel. It quietly wandered off and I followed it to see if it was going to grunt at me, but it wasn't interested in challenging me over the territory.
Then I walked all three dogs out the back door and down the steps into the yard below the porch to pee, and we were taken by surprise by a child coyote that had been standing under the Jacaranda tree right next to the porch. If it just wanted to escape us, it could have easily disappeared around the corner of the house, and we would have been none the wiser. However, it purposely jumped out in front of us, looked at us, and then ran off while looking over its shoulder. Stewie barked and took off chasing it until he hit the end of his leash. The coyote was trying to lure the dogs away from me, but didn't succeed because they were all on leashes and two of them were too blind to see it.
I have not seen one rattlesnake this year -- only bull snakes, king snakes and racers. I have also not seen the Gila Monster. I wonder what kind of predator would be around these parts that would cut down on the populations of those. This is the first year I have seen javelina and a bobcat, so the ecosystem of my back yard does seem to be changing.