Coyote Movement Ecology

In collaboration with several other Smithsonian units, we’ve started collaring coyotes in order to learn more about how they use the landscape and where they spend their time. Coyotes are one of the most adaptive wild canids on earth. Human-caused alterations to natural habitats and aggressive predator controls have resulted in coyotes rapidly expanding their range from the southwest and central plains of the United States to all 49 continental states, most of Canada and Central America. Unlike wolves, coyotes are highly adaptive to changing landscapes. They adapt easily to urban and human-dominated settings, changing behaviors, movement patterns, and diets in response to their environment. They persist and even thrive in urbanized environments. Today, coyotes are common and widespread in the Eastern United States.
Smithsonian scientists are studying movement ecology of the coyote population utilizing SCBI and the nearby landscape. The findings from this research will provide SCBI land managers and researchers valuable insight into the relationship between coyotes and prey species in a unique ecological setting. Furthermore, better understanding about how coyotes move in a patchwork landscape of public and private lands where land use, human interaction, and hunting pressure varies from property to property will help landowners making informed management decisions pertaining to predator species, and may prove useful to rural landowners beyond the study area.

VWL’s Role:

Virginia Working Landscapes staff are contributing to the field work on this project, which includes camera trapping, live-capture and handling of all animals, and radio-telemetry tracking. In addition, the VWL program’s outreach focus allows it to engage landowners and the broader community about coyote management and nuisance issues.

Partners and Primary Investigators:

Dr. Nucharin Songsasen (PI) – Center for Species Survival
Dr. Jared Stabach – Smithsonian’s Movement of Life Initiative
Dr. John McEvoy – Conservation Ecology Center
Dr. Marc Valitutto – Global Health Program
Joe Guthrie – Virginia Working Landscapes

Project Timeline and Status:

Started Spring 2019 – Ongoing


Grant award from Smithsonian’s Conservation Ecology Center


VWL is supported 100% by grants and donations and our work is made possible by the generous contributions from our community.

The Smithsonian Institution is a 501(c)(3). All contributions are tax-deductible.


Virginia Working Landscapes
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
1500 Remount Road, MRC 5537
Front Royal, Virginia 22630