Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst, is another of those books I had loaned to Alex that I collected recently. It's also another of them that, as far as I know, he didn't read. Loaned him a dozen books, at his request, and in 3.5 years the only one I know for sure he read was I Am Legend. Why did I bother?
Reid's book details her return to Massachusetts after several years living elsewhere, and her desire to see one of the coyotes wandering the woods near her new home. Coyotes have only made their way to the eastern seaboard in the 20th Century*, and having interbred with wolves (suffering from a lack of available mates), are not quite like the ones people west of the Mississippi are accustomed to.
Reid doesn't only describe her attempts to find one. She discusses how human modification of the habitat and preexisting animals made the coyotes' success (they're one of those rare species that seem to only do better the harder people try to exterminate them) possible, the varying reactions of the public, and encounters other people have had with them. She incorporates the history of bounties and hunting efforts, searches through written records of folklore from local Native American tribes to see if coyotes were here earlier, and compares the success of these canids to all the animals and plants that haven't prospered from meeting humans, as well as some of the others that have. She even gets into the difficulty the coyotes' interbreeding has posed not just for attempts to preserve what some think of as a separate species, but for the concept of "species" itself (though the way plants readily interbreed has probably done even more for that).
At times, the topic of coyotes gets lost in Reid reminiscing about her past, her family, or in her descriptions of the health problems facing her partner. It does mirror the fact the coyote search has fallen to the backburner during those times as well, though, and it highlights how she is in some ways as much of a new arrival (even having spent her entire childhood there) as the coyotes.
* There is a school of thought mentioned in the book that coyotes were there at least as far back as the arrival of European settlement, based on descriptions of "brush wolves". It's unclear, as there don't seem to be any definitive records to prove it one way or the other.