It's a doleful sound, at the onset, one could misinterpret it as a human cry, especially when one is a fifteen minute drive from the border of the most populous city in the United States. Then as it builds into a chorus of an indeterminate number of intertwined vocal parts, a sonic mélange of howls and yips, it becomes as unmistakable as it is unheimlich- it is a pack of coyotes singing. I tend not to be timorous about coyotes, having had several encounters with them in the past. I decided that I would proceed in the direction of the coyote-chorus so I could attempt to get some idea of how many there were (count the tapeta lucida, then divide by two, hoping that there are no individuals which are monocular due to disease or misadventure)- then, in typical horror movie fashion, just as I was about to march forth (tee hee), the battery of my rechargeable flashlight gave out. I'm not afraid of the dark, nor am I afraid of coyotes, but, despite the fact that I have worked nights for the past ten years, from an evolutionary standpoint, I am a diurnal animal, so the prospect of walking into an area occupied by an indeterminate number of sizeable, clever predators wasn't exactly appealing. It was around 4AM, a time perfectly described by Fred Saberhagen as "the darkest morning hours, when human powers are known to wane, and others may reach their peak". ADVANTAGE: CANINE!
Lightless, I made my way to the brighter precincts of the site, then back to my office. I swear I didn't cry, but I didn't exactly feel very heroic until I was inside. If there's one thing I've learned by perusing lurid Man's Life magazine covers on the internet, it's that even the manliest manly man of manliness can prevail against a critter onslaught only during the daylight hours. If that one guy had run into those weasels at night, they would have ripped his flesh right down to the bone, marrow even.
On a felicitous note, because of the bitterly cold, windy weather, one of the managers took Fred and Ginger home for the weekend. Typically, I feed these two around 4AM on Saturday mornings, and the idea of having them out and about while coyotes are roaming around without me being able to see them would not have made me comfortable.
ADDENDUM: Given the frigid temperature, and the fact that the eastern coyote is about one-quarter wolf, this could have been the title of my post: