Coyotes, Geese and Flat Stanley Goes to the Zoo

If you feel the urge, don’t be afraid to go on a wild goose chase. What do you think wild geese are for anyway?
– Will Rogers

Three little stories in one – encounters with a Coyote (Canis latrans), a Goose (Branta canadensis) and Flat Stanley (Homo sapiens charta plano). I suppose I could write three different posts, but these meetings all happened on the same day, so I’ll deftly wrap them up into one tale. Maybe.

We often see coyotes, off in the distance, in the field behind our house. We have never seen one inside the fence – the fence that is supposed to keep cat eating canines out of our back yard.

So, we were just a bit surprised to see this fellow on our side of the fence, pacing back and forth, looking for a way out. He must have jumped the fence to get into the yard, but he seemed to have forgotten that he would have to jump the fence again in order to regain his freedom. (In all fairness, this coyote could have been female, but this behaviour seemed to me to be more indicative of a young male whose mom had said, “Never, ever jump that fence. A cranky gardener lives in there.”

There are three large gates in the fence, but the coyote was between me and two of the gates. Before I could get the third gate opened, I heard the sproing sound that a chain link fence makes when it has been scaled. When I turned around, the coyote was over the fence, and hightailing it out to the field.

Later in the day we went to the Zoo. Many of the animals there live in habitats that are so large that it is often difficult to see the animals at all.  Not like looking at a coyote in my back yard, for sure!

Like many places in North America, the Zoo has also become a habitat for the Canada Goose. The geese aren’t inmates – they just like the easy living at the zoo.   Rather ironic, don’t you think?

As we were leaving the Zoo, a lady approached me and asked where I got the Zoo button on my lapel. I explained that I had been given it because I had just renewed my Zoo membership.   The lady looked disappointed – she had hoped she could buy a pin to put on the jacket of the ‘Flat Stanley’ she and her grand daughter had brought to the Zoo! (The Flat Stanley Project is a modern version of having a pen pal. It connects children, students or classrooms with other children or classrooms by sending out “flat” visitors, created by the children. Flat Stanley’s travels create the narratives that connect the children.)

I was so excited about meeting a real Flat Stanley, that I forgot to take a picture! But I did give the lady my pin so that Flat Stanley would have a memento of his trip to the Zoo.

27 thoughts on “Coyotes, Geese and Flat Stanley Goes to the Zoo

    1. Good question winsomebella. And why are they called Canada Geese? Why not American Geese? I think they spend more time in the US than they do in Canada!


    1. I think a buzzard would be very interesting, Mike. That would be comparable to our hawks, yes? In the US, the buzzard could also be member of the vulture family.


    1. Thanks for pointing out the origins of Flat Stanley, Lorna. The Flat Stanley Project started in London, Ontario, Canada in 1995.


  1. Hi,
    What a variety of animals you have at your place, and a fantastic photo of the coyote, he looks so healthy as well, beautiful fur.

    I have also never heard of flat stanley, but it does sound like a great idea for the kids. It was very nice of you to give your pin to the Lady and her Granddaughter at the zoo, a very nice gesture indeed. 😀


    1. That’s what I thought, Mags – a very healthy looking coyote. I guess our mild winter helped, but I think the richardon’s ground squirrels have come out of hibernation and these are a food source for the coyotes.
      The lady really was surprised that I would give her my pin!


    1. Dor, the cat is an inside-outside cat, and officially lives with our neighbours. He was our cat, but decided he liked it better at their house. He has evaded the coyotes for 8 years now.


  2. You have many of the same wildlife visitors I have. Coyotes (speaking of which – have you ever read Tortilla Curtain? a great read!), geese (swimming on the pond as I write this – anxious to see the goslings soon), we have foxes under our shed (anxious to see the pups soon – there were 7 last spring), and we have deer (26 of them yesterday), an occasional bear. However no Flat Stanley’s. That’s my father’s name but he’s far from flat. Perhaps a visit to the zoo is in order – that’s a great project. And best of all – the definition you’ve included of a conclusion. Funny.


    1. Hi Barb – I envy you! Our pond is only seasonal, and it has been a number of years since the ducks decided to nest there. There are foxes in the neighbourhood, but we don’t know where they den. No bear though, which is fine by me! The garden eating deer – we can have up to 70 of them in the field across the road, but this year we aren’t seeing many of them. Perhaps they have been driven out by the moose.


  3. Loved the coyote shot! I heard the blip blip of a police siren a month ago and it sounded like it was happening on our front street. When I went to investigate the sound I saw a coyote being chased down the street by a police car. I saw my first geese fly over the day before we got another huge dumping of snow. A couple of years ago in early May we were at our cabin in northern Manitoba and working outside. About 8:30 – 9 a.m. we started to hear the honking and when we looked up we saw one huge flock after another fly over. I gave up counting the flocks at 18. This carried on until late in the morning. It was amazing to see.


    1. That would be quite a sight to see, Ev – a police car trying to herd a coyote!
      We see some big flocks of geese too, but nothing like you have seen. Several hundred geese are wintering near here – they feed on the spilled grain in the fields behind us. I suppose they would have headed south if we had had more snow this year.


    1. I’m sure you mean an autograph from Flat Stanley, not the coyote or the goose. But yes, yearstricken, I forgot the autograph!


    1. Thanks Caryn – I took the photo through the window, which was actually quite dirty after a winter of weather. I washed the window right after this – never know who might show up next!


  4. I’d never heard of Flat Stanley until a niece of mine was in third grade. One day ol’ Flat Stan showed up in the mail with a bunch of hoops for me to jump through. Just a fantastic concept, and certainly one that rouses kids’ imaginations.

    P.S. I like how that coyote took one look at your camera, thought it was a gun, and decided he was more of a high jumper than he thought! : )


    1. Sounds like you had a good work-out with Flat Stanley, what with all the hoops and such.
      The only gun we have shoots paint balls, and our aim is horrible, so the coyote had nothing to fear.


    1. Amanda – I would imagine Flat Stanley enjoyed a visit to the Atomium. I’m certainly going to put it on my list should I ever get to Brussels again!


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