BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Imagine hearing howling in your backyard but, no, it’s not a dog or even two. Instead, it’s a cacophonous chorus of coyotes.
While coyotes are nothing new in central Alabama, they’ve become a major concern and a nuisance for several residential and urban areas over the last few years, especially for people with small children and pets.
Recently, residents have spotted coyotes in neighborhoods in Vulcan Park, along 280 and in Shelby County.
“It does happen more frequently the more that we go in and build into areas and stuff like that, they really don’t have anywhere else to go,” Chase Roberts, owner of Roberts Wildlife, said.
Roberts Wildlife helps the Birmingham Humane Society remove coyotes on private property. Roberts said as they lose their territory, the critters encroach more in urban areas. He also pointed out that this time of year is when they’re most active due to a lack of cover and a lack of food.
“They are omnivorous. They actually will eat fruits, plant life, dead animals, anything” Roberts said.
Birmingham City Councilor for District 5 Darrell O’Quinn has a background in veterinary medicine.
“An increasingly common occurrence. Nowadays, coyotes are just part of the regular wildlife,” O’Quinn said.
O’Quinn added that local government does not have the authority to control the coyote population. Instead, the city works with the USDA to control wildlife species that create problems.
If you see a coyote on your land, O’Quinn encourages you to reach out to a wildlife removal service or your local USDA agent.
Desperate coyotes can be dangerous to small animals or children, but the experts emphasized they’re extremely rare. However, it’s still best to keep your distance and take precautions for any small pets. They also suggested not leaving pet food or any trash out overnight.
“If you do have any small pets, the best thing to do is keep an eye on them. Be out there with them. Coyotes have no interest in attacking adult humans, they are very very scared of us,” Roberts said.