Wyman Meinzer.Â Coyote.Â Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1995.Â 128 pages.Â Cloth: $19.95; ISBN 0-89672-353-4.
Coyote is classified as a â€œpictorial work,â€ a coffee-table book.Â Of its 128 pages, only the first 44 contain text; captioned,Â gorgeous photos of coyotes that the author took himself during his many years of coyote research fill out theÂ book’s bulk.Â
TheÂ textualÂ material of Coyote contains just enough information about C. latrans to help me form more precise questions about the animalâ€™s nature and habits.Â On one hand, I feltÂ the book’s imparted insights ratherÂ on the lightweight side.Â I had hoped that it would reflect in greater depth and detail what Meinzer learned about this intriguing animal after over three decades of study.Â Instead, he gives readers slightly more than the basics.Â Â He remarksÂ for instance on howÂ coyotes haveÂ about 11 categories of vocalizations, but he only listsÂ 3 of them,Â offering only slight elaboration on those.Â The coyote’s vocal repetoire is one of the most fetching of this animal’s qualities.Â Why not at leastÂ touch uponÂ the other 8 categories?Â
On the other hand, I learned enough from the book to gain a fair starting point for my investigation into this creature with whom Iâ€™ve begun crossing paths more frequently and intimately.Â The bookâ€™s beautiful 70 plus pages of photos are instructional in a deeper way.Â People able to read animal body languageÂ will find them engaging and meaningful.
Some of Meinzerâ€™s writing is bumpy, requiring the reader toÂ guess hisÂ meaning.Â For example, p. 34: â€œIf excavation allows, I have observed dens with nursing quarters or enlarged rooms with side tunnels to accommodate the young whelps.â€Â Deciphering who or what excavation allows to do what takes a bit of work.Â DoesÂ Meinzer mean thatÂ if conditions permit him to excavate a den (which he has done in his research), then he observes in the process these den structures?Â Or does he mean that if excavation conditionsÂ prove favorableÂ for the coyotes, then heâ€™s seen them build dens having these characteristics?Â Also, â€œyoungâ€ modifying â€œwhelpsâ€ seems unnecessary.
Well,Â like I said, Coyote is a coffee-table book, maybe a bit light on information but packed with eye-catching pictures, which in this case do more than simplyÂ enchant the eye.Â These pictures revealÂ important information about coyote body postures and behavior.Â However, if you want greater precision in expression or are looking to learn about theÂ possible range of coyote vocalizations and gain greater insight into marking practices (which I do), you have to look elsewhere.Â Where?Â Iâ€™m not sure yet.Â If anybody has suggestions, please, do tell.