Columbia Heights doesn't take kindly to headstrong animals. At least not officially. According to the city code of the first-ring Minneapolis suburb, any animal is forbidden "to run at large within the city."
That would be news to the Height's wily coyotes. A recent spike in sightings suggests the 'burb is becoming a favorite stomping ground for coyotes.
Patti Formico can attest.
Her house on West Upland Crest has been in the family for decades. It's situated about a half-mile south of I-694 near Kordiak County Park, and it isn't uncommon for Formico and her neighbors to see deer and the occasional fox. Enter the coyote.
Another resident reported seeing a coyote on a pond in Kordiak. Formico would witness the same the following day. Less than 24 hours later she was looking through an upstairs window and spotted three coyotes.
Formico had never seen a coyote in Columbia Heights. Now other residents are spotting them in different parts of the city.
"There were other comments from people on the Facebook pages," she says. "Sounds like others have seen them in the area of Chatham Road, somebody even commented down off 37th and University."
According to the Minnesota DNR, what's taking place in Columbia Heights isn't unique. Coyote "populations are establishing and increasing in the Twin Cities metro area," the department's website says.
The predators traditionally survive on varmints like mice and rabbits. But the DNR also considers them to be "very opportunistic" creatures. In urban areas, their menu choices expand. They'll feast on everything from house pets to food in garbage cans.
Cary Christopherson read Formico's Facebook post. He responded by writing, "Coyotes are all over the metro, they're just really good at not being seen."
Except, perhaps, in Columbia Heights.
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- Reader: The coyotes are thick, and they're walking with a strut