If you hear howling outside your house late at night, don't be afraid. It's just a coyote, and this is a time of year when they call to others, according to wildlife biologist Bob Noviello, owner of Suburban Wildlife Control in Windham. His company deals with animals that are a nuisance to humans, including coyotes.
Noviello, a former wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said he often receives calls in the spring when mother coyotes are seen hunting for food to feed their young. He also gets them this time of the year when the growing offspring become vocal.
"You get a lot in the fall when the juveniles get big enough and start talking to each other," he said. "You get to hear them howling at night."
Local coyote experts said people shouldn't be too concerned if they hear one howling. Coyotes rarely attack people and are usually not rabid, though they are known to sometimes go after dogs, cats and other small mammals. They also are drawn to livestock.
"You always get these types of calls, but the occurrence of that is very low," Noviello said. "They call up concerned they are going to be attacked because they hear them at night."
Coyotes are drawn to yards where squirrels eat at bird feeders, Noviello said. Relocating bird feeders helps solve the problem, he added.
Despite more calls this time of year, there is no evidence the coyote population is increasing. As a matter of fact, the number of coyotes in the state, which isn't tracked, seems to have been stable in recent years, according to wildlife biologist Mark Ellingwood of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
"I'm not aware of any change in the status of coyotes in the state," he said. "Coyotes are very tough to keep tabs on."