Goodnight to all. Much love, Tay
October 29, 2009 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Taylor Mitchell, 19, was a promising Canadian folk singer. Her life was cut short by a rare coyote attack. Her music can be heard on her Myspace page. Mitchell on Facebook. From her bio: Taylor has just released her debut full length recording "For Your Consideration"- a collection of mostly original songs that showcases a range of styles, from folk to country-rock to pop, and reflects the diversity of her talent.
posted by cjorgensen (105 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
This was a tragic and horrific accident, and a bizarre way to die, and I feel for her family and friends. However, it's not a good Mefi post, imo.
posted by jokeefe at 11:31 AM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


gotta agree in totality with jokeefe
posted by edgeways at 11:34 AM on October 29, 2009


Why not? Is real estate here so precious that a too-short life of someone on the cusp of something interesting not worth a couple of lines?
posted by MuffinMan at 11:36 AM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


jokeefe - just pretend it was Joni Mitchell. Happy now?
posted by davebush at 11:38 AM on October 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't have known about her otherwise. Good post.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:41 AM on October 29, 2009


I was shocked to learn that there were any coyotes in Nova Scotia, and when I go to research it, I find out that they've apparently started showing up in Newfoundland too. So, yeah, let's hope coyote attacks are rare, because they're apparently on the move.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:42 AM on October 29, 2009


"Previously unknown person dead in coyote attack" feels awfully news-of-the-weird-ish to me.

Sorry.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:42 AM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


The first link takes you to her website. In the upper left corner there's a link to click to make donations to the "Taylor Mitchell Memorial Fund," but there's no indication of what the fund is for. Is this common practice? When people set up a fund, don't they usually specify what it's for, such as a scholarship in the deceased's name?
posted by Evangeline at 11:42 AM on October 29, 2009


I saw a coyote once in the Hollywood Hills. I was walking. He was walking. He passed me on the opposite side of the street, and we each watched each other the entire time. He looked like a small, strange-looking, frightened dog. It never even occurred to me to be afraid of it, but I suppose a pair of them might do some real harm. Heck, pit bulls are pretty small, but they've been known to kill.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:43 AM on October 29, 2009


It's a shame a folk singer can be torn apart by something as simple as a pack of coyotes.
posted by anti social order at 11:43 AM on October 29, 2009 [13 favorites]


I lived in the Canadian Rockies for a few years and while I was highly aware that all of the animals were dangerous, the coyotes never really worried me too much. This story chilled me to the bone.

She was obviously very talented and headed for great things. It's sad that most of the world didn't know that until the unusual circumstances of her death.

.
posted by futureisunwritten at 11:44 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


davebush, if it were 1962, and Joni Mitchell had died after a coyote attack, it wouldn't necessarily be Metafilter worthy either, as I see it. My problem is that the whole point of this post is to gawk at the horrible manner of Taylor Mitchell's death; otherwise there would be no point to it, and there are many hundreds of promising singer-songwriters out there, and a post about any of them wouldn't necessarily be all that interesting either.
posted by jokeefe at 11:46 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


How many deaths will it take for the Canadian government to halt construction of non-coyote-proof igloos?
posted by codswallop at 11:46 AM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


.

coyotes so rarely, rarely attack a person. That alone is worth an FPP. It really is a sign of the coming apocalypse.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:48 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is the second recorded Coyote attack on a human, the other being a 3 year old in 1981. The article was a good read, this is interesting regardless of who the victim was.
posted by fire&wings at 11:49 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


*fatal attack
posted by fire&wings at 11:50 AM on October 29, 2009


WTF is wrong with you people? A post about a previously-unknown folk singer would be fine. A post about a person killed in a coyote attack would also be fine, as long as it wasn't just a single link news-of-the-weird, which this isn't.
posted by DU at 11:50 AM on October 29, 2009 [15 favorites]


The "Taylor Mitchell Memorial Fund" link wasn't there when I started writing the post. It's showed up in the last hour. I am guessing they will add information, since when you click it you are taken to a page without content (there doesn't even seem to be a place to actually donate).

I didn't think this is news of the weird, but I did considered not posting it because it's been all over the place. Washington Post, Huffington Post, BBC, and tons of music sites all carried the news. These are not generally known for tabloid style journalism.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:52 AM on October 29, 2009


She was covered by Three Dog Night, I believe.
posted by Rumple at 11:52 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


She was covered by Three Dog Night, I believe.

Yeah, this is going really well so far.
posted by jokeefe at 11:54 AM on October 29, 2009


coyotes so rarely, rarely attack a person. That alone is worth an FPP. It really is a sign of the coming apocalypse.

Yeah, despite the news-of-the-worldy surface, there might be more here than it seems at first. Here in Calgary, coyote sightings are commonplace - we lost a cat to a pack up the hill (well inside city limits but near a major ravine) a few years ago, and I once helped chase off a lone coyote that was going after someone's little dog in a nearby park.

It's kind of common (and proven) folk wisdom here that coyotes can be chased off with a little loud noise, and other than the occasional nipped toddler I don't think there's ever been a serious - let alone fatal - attack. The CBC had an expert from Dalhousie U. on last night saying there was basically no precedent for this kind of coyote attack. I wish I had a link to some kind of even purely speculative informed opinion on how this could've happened.

In any case, this is a lightning-strike-level freak occurrence, and for that the least I can offer Ms. Mitchell is

.
posted by gompa at 11:55 AM on October 29, 2009


I am so tired of people who only talk about new music from people who are dead.
posted by Jairus at 11:59 AM on October 29, 2009


I saw a coyote lope through my yard a couple of years ago, right at dusk. It crossed the busy street my house sits on - right in the middle of a smallish-city neighbohood - and disappeared into the greenbelt on the other side. I had no doubts about what I had seen, but I think my family only half believed my story until I brought it up at a neighborhood party. The neighbor who lived in the house across the busy street next to the greenbelt in question said, "Yeah, we hear them out there all the time." It never occured to me to be worried about the sighting. Until now, I always thought it was a good thing, since they presumably help to keep the local rodent population somewhat in check. Now, I suppose, I have one more reason to keep a careful eye on my grandkids when they're playing in the yard.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:00 PM on October 29, 2009


Interesting post with lots of background, cjorgensen. Thanks. (Incidentally, whenever I see an interesting post on Metafilter these days, the first batch of comments consists of complaints about the post, typed within a few minutes of the post's appearance.)

For some real bile, read the comments on this Canadian newspaper article. It's going to be so awesome when news sites turn off comments forever.

Hiking alone is one of the great pleasures of being alive. Suffering anything beyond a sunburn or sprained ankle while walking by yourself in the wilderness is also rare, but of course those rare events -- lightning strikes, mountain lion attacks, and this utterly weird coyote attack -- get replayed on the local and cable news for weeks at a time. And well-meaning parents tell their kids to stay out of the woods and the desert, just sit inside and watch the teevee, keep safe ....
posted by kenlayne at 12:00 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I came across a couple of hungry looking, lean coyotes a few weeks ago on my bicycle commute home. I ride along an irrigation canal that runs through downtown Scottsdale. I looked at them, they looked at me, and I wondered if I could outrun them on the sluggish monstrosity of a bike rolling under me. They must have decided it was too much work, kept right along, there behind the fancy big houses.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 12:01 PM on October 29, 2009


DU: "A post about a previously-unknown folk singer would be fine. A post about a person killed in a coyote attack would also be fine, as long as it wasn't just a single link news-of-the-weird, which this isn't."

1. Unless the point of the post was "Listen to the great music from this previously-unknown folk singer - which I was in to before she was killed by a coyote", I disagree.

2. News-of-the-weird is not improved by links to the Weirdee's Facebook page. YMMV.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:03 PM on October 29, 2009


There apparently used to be a woman who fed the coyotes in High Park in Toronto - she'd go out and feed them chicken and stuff. I have no idea if this was true or some urban legend but at the time it made me mad because the last thing downtown Toronto needed was a bunch of healthy, happy coyotes who get hungry when the lady gets sick and can't feed them any longer.

My condolences to Ms. Mitchell's family.
posted by GuyZero at 12:04 PM on October 29, 2009


(I also don't let my two-year-old play outside alone at dusk, when the big pack comes over the hill from the national park, so I don't think coyotes are cuddly or anything. They will hunt whatever they can reasonably expect to kill and carry back to the den -- generally jackrabbits.)
posted by kenlayne at 12:05 PM on October 29, 2009


For some real bile, read the comments on this Canadian newspaper article. It's going to be so awesome when news sites turn off comments forever.
I bet she could have escaped the coyote had she been on an ATV.

Obviously, had the hiker been carrying some form of self defense (a sidearm), this tragic occurance would not have ended as it did. BUT in Canada - you're not allowed to take self defense into your own hands. Call 911 and wait to die.

Time for a coyote bounty, cull and kill. Drive them back from human settlement and let them fear mankind.

here should be calls or a bounty in place...as well on the the "sea coyote" the seal.

Moderator: Commenting on this story is now closed.

posted by wcfields at 12:06 PM on October 29, 2009


It's Raining Florence Henderson: My roommate in college lived in a similar area to the one you described while growing up. He had a schnauzer that was attacked by a coyote and fought it off.

So, just train your grandkids in the art of coyote fighting. Or purchase some schnauzers.

True story about my roommate.
posted by glaucon at 12:06 PM on October 29, 2009


I agree with Lutoslawski. There's more than news of the weird here. This sort of attack is nearly unprecedented.

When I first heard the story, I assumed Mitchell was tiny. Nope.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:07 PM on October 29, 2009


> I am so tired of people who only talk about new music from people who are dead.

It does have the benefit of greatly raising the bar.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:09 PM on October 29, 2009


For some real bile, read the comments on this Canadian newspaper article. It's going to be so awesome when news sites turn off comments forever.

To be fair, that's not a real newspaper. It's the Halifax Chronicle-Herald - widely known by its well-earned nickname the Chronically Horrid). Its print letters page has for years provided some of the best survey reading in the lastest in batshit crazy you'll find anywhere. Often as not, the print letters aren't even responding to something the paper printed.
posted by gompa at 12:14 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


For some real bile, read the comments on this Canadian newspaper article. It's going to be so awesome when news sites turn off comments forever.

Those are fulla stupid. I like how a lot of them say "these so-called experts are idiots. I've seen coyotes maul [pets or livestock] and/or stalk small children" Um, yeah. That's why this story is bizarre. Pets and livestock are obvious targets for coyotes. Full-grown humans? Literally never.

I smell zombie coverup.

Also in this particular case we were here first. These new larger proto-wolves are new to the area. If anything think of the tourist money.

?!
posted by mrgrimm at 12:14 PM on October 29, 2009


First they came for the kittycats, and I didn't speak out, because I wasn't a kittycat.
Then they came for the purse dogs, and I didn't speak out, because those are barely even dogs.
Then they came for the folksingers, and I didn't speak out, because I'm kind of a horrible person.
posted by padraigin at 12:16 PM on October 29, 2009 [13 favorites]


The facebook link has content not available on any of the sites I looked at, such as press photos. The Myspace link was the only place I could find any of her music online. Her disc doesn't seem to be available on amazon.ca or iTunes.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:16 PM on October 29, 2009


It's a tragic end to a promising life.

It's good enough for an FPP, I knew when I saw the first report today that it would be on the Blue. I was looking forward to seeing links that were better than what you get elsewhere, which is frequently nothing. It's part of what we do here.
posted by Xoebe at 12:20 PM on October 29, 2009


jokeefe - just pretend it was Joni Mitchell. Happy now?--aebush

No regrets. You two just come from different sets of circumstances.

ok i burn in hell now
posted by sourwookie at 12:20 PM on October 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


Thanks for this. I'm happy to be introduced to good music, even with the sad news attached. Reminds me of an extremely talented friend of mine who was killed by an alligator a few years ago.

.
posted by lholladay at 12:28 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why don't we vote for a Ruler who must decide Up or Down on each post submitted?
posted by Postroad at 12:41 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The CBC had an expert from Dalhousie U. on last night saying there was basically no precedent for this kind of coyote attack

Yes, most of the coyotes you will find are small, diseased and rather sickly - not the type of animal that would win a fair fight with a human. Traditionally people in remote areas defend themselves from Coyotes by being noisy, or throwing things; and its nothing too scary. This uptick in agressive behaviour is a fairly good reason to suspect that this coyote attack is a sign of some kind of serious ecological upheaval.

I hope that people in this thread downplaying this story consider that wolves are generally considered more threatening to people than coyotes, but even wolves have only been connected to a handful of human deaths since the time of settlers. Adult humans can generally fight off a wolf attack too...

This story would be completely notable and newsworthy, even if it didn't involve a semi-famous person.
posted by Deep Dish at 12:42 PM on October 29, 2009


There was an article in the WaPo a few years ago about coyotes, and I was surprised to learn that there's evidently two different types (from here):
The coyotes' outward migration began about a century ago. They moved east and west, filling the ecological vacuum left by human efforts to eradicate wolves from the lower 48 states. Coyotes expanded west first, toward California. Eastward expansion began a few decades later, along two routes, one due east and southeast, through the Gulf States, and the other northeast, into Canada, and eventually down into New England and along the East Coast. Wildlife biologists believe that the coyotes now showing up in the Washington area may be part of both eastward migrations: the smaller, Western coyotes -- 20 to 35 pounds -- of the due-east migration; and larger coyotes from the Canadian migration. Coyotes in this second group weigh 35 to 50 pounds, because of interbreeding with Canadian wolves.
I had seen some hand-wringing articles about coyotes showing up in Rock Creek Park and had laughed with my boyfriend about anyone getting upset over them. Coyotes? They look like a small, skinny dog! You could kick them off of you! Haha, those east coast folk who never venture out of a city.

The interbreeding with Canadian wolves thing freaked me the fuck out, though. I had no idea.
posted by iminurmefi at 12:42 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


For two months this summer I slept in a tent which I had placed in a ravine, and every single night I fell asleep to the sound of coyotes on either sides of the hill talking to each other. It was one of the nicest sounds I've ever had to fall asleep to. I never would of dreamed of being afraid of them, either. This is pretty freaky.
posted by mannequito at 12:51 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Western coyotes -- 20 to 35 pounds

Seriously? My medium-sized neurotic dog weighs that much. Granted, she'll be more likely to hold you down and lick you, but even if she tried to be a badass, she weighs... well you get the idea.

Lesson learned: Keep Pizza Rolls on self in case of emergency.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:54 PM on October 29, 2009


interesting post, thanks
posted by fatbaq at 12:58 PM on October 29, 2009


Why is there no actual descriptions of what happened? All there is that she was alone, and died of complications later. Did she tell someone "it was two coyotes" before she died? How did she get help?

I've been around coyotes before and this definitely seems really bizarre.
posted by Big_B at 1:08 PM on October 29, 2009


We have a lot of coyotes here, but they're not really a problem. The real problem is packs of dogs, non-feral but their owners let them roam free. When they pack up they can become a serious problem. A friend has lost three goats in four years to these packs, and they have three border collies of their own (who aren't that useful against a larger pack). This is a rural area with a lot of small agriculture, so there has always been a sizable population of feral and semi-feral working dogs (cattle dogs, border collies, etc.), so animal control is a bit different here, and a lot of people don't have fences. The coyotes are always present, and you can hear them howl on most nights, but they're not a threat at all here, except maybe to the occasional outdoor cat, but typically the packs of roaming dogs get them first.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:09 PM on October 29, 2009


BTW, coyotes are apparently not that difficult to domesticate. I know someone here who does rescue, and they take to people very well and are often very submissive, but you have to take care around other animals and get them used to the idea that these animals are part of the pack now, not sources of food.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:11 PM on October 29, 2009


This uptick in agressive behaviour is a fairly good reason to suspect that this coyote attack is a sign of some kind of serious ecological upheaval.

I'm not sure a single event constitutes an uptick.
posted by electroboy at 1:11 PM on October 29, 2009


Why don't we vote for a Ruler who must decide Up or Down on each post submitted?

It's traditional to wait for three or four hundred comments and a few good conversations to get started, then unpublish the post into the ether.

Coyotes. What next, crazy apocalypse world?
posted by rokusan at 1:13 PM on October 29, 2009


This is why Canada has such a low population density. Not only do we freeze in igloos, most of the wildlife wants to eat us.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:14 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


i see coyotes every day. i hear them every night. i like coyotes. if they eat the occasional hiker it's ok with me.
posted by kitchenrat at 1:17 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Did she tell someone "it was two coyotes" before she died? How did she get help?
from Wikipedia - During the attack, some other hikers came across Mitchell and managed to scare the animals away and called 911. When emergency crews arrived, she was taken to a hospital in Cheticamp and then airlifted to Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax in critical condition. She died overnight.

This disturbs me because there are coyotes in my neighborhood. I ran into one in the park in Montpelier. I know they eat cats, but I always thought they ran from humans.
Also, I was on the Skyline Trail last month.
posted by MtDewd at 1:20 PM on October 29, 2009


Bu...but...they are so CUTE!
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:20 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


This was a tragic and horrific accident, and a bizarre way to die, and I feel for her family and friends. However, it's not a good Mefi post, imo.

There's a great benchmark for this. Ask yourself, "Is this better than the average single-link Youtube post?" If the answer is yes, then the post in question is at least better than posts that have become a fixture of the front page.

The answer is almost always "Yes."
posted by jayder at 1:30 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I live in Nova Scotia, and despite some of the more negative comments here I'm glad this made mefi. RIP.
posted by datter at 1:34 PM on October 29, 2009


I don't really understand how two coyotes could kill an adult human. The previous death was of a 3 year old girl. Coyotes aren't bull mastiffs. They're half the size of golden retrievers. Even the coyote-wolf hybrids are less than 50 pounds, and there aren't any wolves in Nova Scotia so it's more likely they were regular coyotes (more like 30 pounds). And if she was wilderness hiking she must have had a knife on her.

How do two animals that size kill a, presumably armed, adult human being. Even a tree branch should be more than enough to keep them at bay.

Obviously this is a tragedy. I just don't understand how it happened. Maybe they surprised her while she was sleeping? But there is no indication of that, and that's so incredibly unlikely it's barely worth considering anyway.
posted by Justinian at 1:37 PM on October 29, 2009


I don't really understand how two coyotes could kill an adult human.

I'm guessing there was some serious panic involved. If one freezes up so much from fear that one can't deflect or kick off attacking dogs... well it could get pretty awful, right? Heck, what if she fainted?
posted by rokusan at 1:42 PM on October 29, 2009


there aren't any wolves in Nova Scotia so it's more likely they were regular coyote

As I understand it, coyote-wolf hybrids aren't limited to areas where wolfs are prevalent. Coyotes aren't native to Canada (or most of the U.S.); they spread across the continent after the decline in the gray wolf population due to trapping. If the wolf/coyote interbreeding happened relatively early during the spread of coyotes up north, you'd expect nearly all coyotes in Canada to be about twice the size of your average coyote in California.

IANABiologist, this is just what I've gathered from reading around a bit. I agree, it doesn't make any sense that the typical small coyote you'd see in the southwestern U.S. could do something like this unless the person was already injured or sleeping. I suspect that either (1) the people who ran to her aid either misidentified the animals attacking her [in addition to interbreeding with wolfs, evidently it's possible for coyotes to interbreed with dogs or other canids and that sort of thing could result in an animal that doesn't behave in the way we'd expect] or that (2) these coyotes are a totally different thing that what most of us think of when we think of "coyote".
posted by iminurmefi at 1:49 PM on October 29, 2009


I can't wait for the CSI: Miami episode.

"Watch out. This one..." (puts on sunglasses) "...could get wild."

YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!
posted by incessant at 1:54 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seconding Gompa - I live in Calgary on the border of one of the largest urban parks in North America (Fish Creek Park) and see them almost daily, running on the hills across the street. Our city, like many, has had a massive rabbit population and I think that coyotes are one of their few natural predators other than bald eagles and horned owls - which I also now see quite often.
posted by jeffmik at 1:56 PM on October 29, 2009


Also, I don't quite buy the experts opinions that coyotes tend to stay away from humans. I've seen them come very close to people on bike paths and have a friend that had a family of them make a den underneath their front porch.
posted by jeffmik at 1:58 PM on October 29, 2009


I was seriously injured by a coyote once. After the ordeal, I had a cracked skull, broken nose and multiple abrasions on my chest and legs. That damn coyote had painted a tunnel on a cliff wall and chased me right into it.
posted by studentbaker at 2:01 PM on October 29, 2009 [21 favorites]


It seems to me that "interbreeding with wolves" is the polite way of saying "wolves are raping coyotes." It won't be consensual, I'm pretty sure.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:05 PM on October 29, 2009


I don't really understand how two coyotes could kill an adult human.

One morning, when I lived in Jasper, Alberta, my roommate and I heard an ungodly racket involving a whole lot of barking, snarling, and terrifying high-pitched squeals. It sounded close by, but we couldn't see what was happening. We notified security so they could notify Parks. When we ran into the security guard a few days later, he told us that what we had heard was a pack of coyotes taking down a bull elk a few hundred yards back from the building in the woods.

It was really creepy to hear an animal cry out for its life like that. The creepier part was that the whole incident went from chaos to total silence in just a couple of minutes.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:10 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


One very early morning at UCLA I walked out of a building and right across the street was a coyote. It took off to the north which made sense. It can't hang out on campus during the day. It probably heads off to Bel Air where there's more space and less people. Now if that coyote finds a partner and get a bit twisted we can have coyotes can eating rich people in LA.
posted by rdr at 2:12 PM on October 29, 2009


mydeathspace, anyone?
posted by mylaudanumhabit at 2:17 PM on October 29, 2009


Heard about this last night, but only in that a promising young folk singer was killed. Figured it was a car wreck or something of the sort.

Saw the front page of the Toronto Sun in a box today, leaned down to take a look... coyotes. Huh.
posted by yellowbinder at 2:25 PM on October 29, 2009


I live in Phoenix. Tempe specifically. I heard my 3 stupid Yorkies barking their little heads off outside this morning, so I went outside to yell at them. Kindly.

They were barking for a reason (for once); outside the gate was a huge wolf/husky mixed breed. After making sure he wasn't a mean dog, I had him come in. Fed him, watered him, and put him in my backyard. He doesn't have a collar and there was no way I was letting this beautiful animal get taken to the pound or worse, hit by a car in the busy PHX streets.

My wife is at home with him now and she's getting ready to take him to the dog park. Neither she nor I are half as alarmed as we probaby should be that a dog with some obvious strains of wolf DNA in him is playing with our 1 1/2 pound teacup Yorkie, Ruxpin. He (the new dog) reminds me so much of the wolf I had for a pet when I was a teenager up in the White Mountains, 3 hours north of Phoenix.

Sorry, derail I know. I don't know much about coyotes, but wolves are very scary to people who've never seen nor cared for one but well loved by people who have. In general.
posted by Bageena at 2:28 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


.

I know a kid, now 15, who was tracked and chased by a coyote when he was about 4 years old and out in a school field flying a kite. He screamed his head off, and it worked.

I don't really understand how two coyotes could kill an adult human. The previous death was of a 3 year old girl. Coyotes aren't bull mastiffs. They're half the size of golden retrievers. Even the coyote-wolf hybrids are less than 50 pounds, and there aren't any wolves in Nova Scotia so it's more likely they were regular coyotes (more like 30 pounds).

The guy down the hall from me had the horrible experience of watching his dog (a pit bull of some sort) get torn apart (but not killed) by three coyotes a few years back. He was at the top of a hill. They were down in a valley, maybe a quarter mile away.

As he describes it, the coyotes worked in a very refined symmetry: always one directly in front of his dog, the other two constantly circling making random (and quick) side attacks.

In the light of this, two things come to mind regarding Ms. Taylor's tragedy.

1. maybe there was a third coyote involved which was gone for some reason by the time the intended rescuers arrived.

2. she panicked.

I was attacked by a single crow once, in a cemetery of all places (I'm thinking I got too close to its nest). It never actually made contact with me, just flew straight at my face and eyes, screeching the whole way. It was only on the third assault that I got my wits about me and ... A. took off my backpack and took a swing at the thing as it came at me, and ... B. got the hell out of the immediate area.

My point being: it's a strange and intense experience to get randomly attacked by a wild animal. Shock and panic are natural responses. Not the right ones unfortunately.

.
posted by philip-random at 2:33 PM on October 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Nice voice, a little (well, sometimes a lot) pitchy but the quality is good and she could have grown to own that voice. Songs are a little pat, generic, the country stuff a little forced especially. Lead guitarist needs to be put out to pasture. Fiddler is atrocious. Sounds like it was recorded in a basement studio using Garage Band, but OK for a freshman effort.

Damn shame she got killed by coyotes. She was never gonna be big, but she could have gotten better. It's weird to hear someone at this phase knowing it was not to be.

.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:38 PM on October 29, 2009


OK, the drummer too. And the bass player. Hopefully they isolated the vocal tracks and can redo this with musicians.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:39 PM on October 29, 2009


I don't really understand how two coyotes could kill an adult human.

Have you ever been attacked by an animal of any size? They probably know what they're doing, while you (generally) don't. They're usually pound for pound stronger than we are, right? I've never been attacked by an animal, but I don't have any problems imagining how two 30lb creatures could knock a girl off her feet and then tear her throat or something.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:40 PM on October 29, 2009


"Full-grown humans? Literally never."

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:51 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


However, it's not a good Mefi post, imo.
jokeefe

gotta agree in totality with jokeefe
edgeways

When the first two comments out of the gate are threadshitting comments it often colors the rest of the thread. There are established methods for making your displeasure known. Flag it and move on or take it to metatalk. You don't have to like every post here anymore than you are required to participate in every thread. Getting your snark on without having read any of the links is the behavior that makes my girlfriend say, "People on metafilter are poops."

She was never gonna be big, but she could have gotten better.
fourcheesemac

I don't know. Read who all she worked with. A couple of decent names in there.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:57 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I used to work at as a volunteer zookeeper at a small local zoo which generally only kept native wildlife that had been rescued from pet-like situations. One of the coyotes was intelligent, incredibly aggressive, had no fear of humans, and had mauled staff through the bars of her enclosure. You could not get within two feet of the enclosure, or ever EVER take your eyes off the coyote in question. It was when people looked away or were distracted that she attacked. I'd have rather been in with the wolves or the bears than outside of that coyote's enclosure.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:20 PM on October 29, 2009


I feel sorry for my musician friends who aren't either dying of cancer* or getting killed by coyotes.

*Fwiw, some of them actually played on that record too.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:26 PM on October 29, 2009


Maybe that came out too cynical: what I meant was that it's a shame so many musicians get ignored unless something tragic happens.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:29 PM on October 29, 2009


For anyone who's worried about coyote attacks or an "uptick" in them, it should be re-emphasised that such attacks are really, really rare. There's literally a handful of attacks per year in the US, and basically no deaths. Compare and contrast with the millions of dog attacks every year, in the US alone. (I live in the midwest and hear coyotes frequently, and it's not uncommon see them - usually as roadkill - as I bike to work.) I get a little freaked out by sites like this that are all "t3h evil murdering coyotes!11111!!" and are gleefully posting this sad news as further justification for culling a relatively harmless species. (I know they can be a problem for livestock. Hence relatively harmless.

Also Obligatory handsome coyote pictures.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 3:51 PM on October 29, 2009


cjorgensen: When the first two comments out of the gate are threadshitting comments it often colors the rest of the thread. There are established methods for making your displeasure known.

Fair enough, but I felt almost protective over this. She was a Canadian and a musician and I guessed that the thread might go badly and become full of careless jokes and so on. I didn't want to see a tangle of snark over a tragedy, one which has garnered attention internationally because it's a freak death-- this post wouldn't have been made if she died in a car crash. Anyway, it seems I was wrong and there are some good comments.

posted by jokeefe at 4:05 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is an interesting, scary story. I am interested to learn more about what happened.

there aren't any wolves in Nova Scotia

Actually, until 2003 Nova Scotia was home to the Canadian Centre for Wolf Research. As a young undergraduate in Halifax, I once volunteered for a psychology experiment in which I had to watch footage of the wolves at the centre.
posted by sueinnyc at 4:36 PM on October 29, 2009


There's literally a handful of attacks

I don't want to be that stereotypical Internet pedantic proper-English jerk, really. The thing is, "literally" is a good and useful word, and there isn't a replacement for it. That's why I have to say -- please, please don't do this.

</derail>

posted by Kalthare at 4:41 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that "interbreeding with wolves" is the polite way of saying "wolves are raping coyotes." It won't be consensual, I'm pretty sure.

Hell, I bet they weren't even married!
posted by delmoi at 5:06 PM on October 29, 2009


I think this is a great post--better than average, anyway, and I'm glad for the chance to be exposed to her music. If I ask the Mefi gods for a pony, it's going to be that comments don't open on new posts for 15 minutes, so the rest of us have a chance against the people who are just dying to be the first to say that something sucks.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:26 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was literally saddened to learn of her death.
posted by fixedgear at 5:50 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is a sad story, but also one that's graced the front of most news portals today.

Zero points for the crappy plug to a news portal on her MySpace page. What a supremely shitty thing to do.

She had more than a fair share of talent. I like what I've heard and it's a shame that we won't be hearing more of her work in the future.
posted by panboi at 5:52 PM on October 29, 2009


"literally" is a good and useful word...

...which enjoys a wider usage than you think it does. For example, it is commonly taken to mean "without embellishment or exaggeration."

Reliable estimates of coyote attacks put the numbers at less than half a dozen per year in the US. I think that number can be described, without embellishment or exaggeration, as "a handful."

In Yellowstone, where Crabtree has worked and where hundreds of coyotes have established territories in areas frequented by over 3 million people a year, there have been less than half a dozen incidents over several decades and each one involved animals that had been fed by tourists.

The best estimates assert that, in recorded history, there have been 20 to 30 coyote attacks on humans that resulted in injuries." (Tracking and the Art of Seeing, Paul Rezendes, second edition, 1999, p. 194) (Although I will admit that estimate is probably low.)
posted by buxtonbluecat at 6:34 PM on October 29, 2009


The incident is so COMPLETELY bizarre that I have to wonder if it was really coyotes, or if it was feral dogs (possibly hybridized with coyotes) which are known to be very vicious and aggressive.

I coexist with coyotes (Washington State, near Deception Pass). They take cats all the time, and the occasional tiny dog, but certainly not people.

Sometimes when the resident coyote pack gets too close to the yard (where my chickens live), I shoo them off simply by sticking my head out the door and hollering "OKAY, THAT'S ENOUGH, MOVE ALONG!" They dash right off, even though I may be a hundred yards away.
posted by ErikaB at 6:46 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Related.
posted by electroboy at 7:24 PM on October 29, 2009


The incident is so COMPLETELY bizarre that I have to wonder if it was really coyotes, or if it was feral dogs (possibly hybridized with coyotes) which are known to be very vicious and aggressive.

I'm with ya, ErikaB. Your comment is the first explanation I've heard that makes sense.

Coyotes are second only to foxes in cravenness around humans. Hell, squirrels, possums, and raccoons both attack, and kill*, humans more often (*through rabies). Deer - fucking DEER - attack humans more often, and I don't mean by jumping through windshields on the highway - I know of a park ranger who was chased into a shed by a rutting stag.

This is bizarre news.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:29 PM on October 29, 2009


1. maybe there was a third coyote involved which was gone for some reason by the time the intended rescuers arrived

Clever girl.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:49 PM on October 29, 2009


Mom speaks out. Says "Don't kill the coyotes."
posted by five fresh fish at 8:19 PM on October 29, 2009


Well I suppose it's a good thing Balsille wasn't allowed to buy the team...

(I'll see you all in hell)
posted by clorox at 10:24 PM on October 29, 2009


The first few comments here just made me mad, so I wont bother reading any of the others.

I heard about this on Boing Boing, clicked over to her myspace page, heard the first few bars or one of her songs and thought, it's a shame I'm only discovering her music because of something so tragic. You'll be able to buy the cd from her website in a few days, and I'm guessing the money will go towards a worthy cause.

Aside:
How long until the first few posts of every metafilter thread consist of:
"First!"
"Damnit, you beat me, LOL"

The snark seems to be getting thicker everyday.
posted by robotot at 11:38 PM on October 29, 2009


I don't really understand how two coyotes could kill an adult human.

One distracts you from the front, the other darts in and takes a bite at a leg, then skedaddles. While you're screaming "motherfucker" and trying to take a kick at the one that just ran off, the other one darts in and bites at your leg. Repeat until:

1) You get lucky and kick a coyote hard enough they give up.
2) They get lucky and hit something important - the achilles, for example - and you go down.
3) You get enough small wounds you go down.
4) You overbalance trying to defend yourself and go down.
5) You start trying to run from your tormentors, they keep harrying you until you trip, run yourself ragged, and go down.

Once you're on the ground your superior size and strength are a lot less useful, and they can start to work on crippling your hands and just ripping at any unprotected part of your body until you start dying of shock and blood loss. Then they can start eating you alive.

That's pretty much how dog species will bring down any larger prey.
posted by rodgerd at 12:19 AM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by orme at 5:19 AM on October 30, 2009


It's been a long time since I actually (and I'll even spell it out) laughed out loud at a comment here at Mefi, but this one by studentbaker did the trick, boy. Rereading it again just now made me laugh out loud again!

That said, I'm sorry that this woman had to die so young, whether it was coyotes, feral dogs, or whatever.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:31 AM on October 30, 2009


I like to read the comments from the ChronicleHerald article in my Arnold Schwarzenegger voice.

Conan, what is best in life?

A coyote bounty, cull and kill. Drive them back from human settlement and let them fear mankind.
posted by Naberius at 6:41 AM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sad but this is weird. I wonder if she saw them and approached them and got close enough to pet them yet they wigged out on her?
posted by stormpooper at 7:47 AM on October 30, 2009


I thought the same thing, stormpooper. Coyote attacks on a full-grown person are so stunningly rare that my first thought was, "I bet she squatted down to pet them or something, thinking "aren't they cute", and got knocked over by a snap to the face".

That's really the only thing that makes sense. The conditions where she was hiking aren't such that there are packs of desperately starving coyotes waiting to hunt down any and all passersby.
posted by Aquaman at 1:58 PM on October 30, 2009


One of my fondest memories is of being stalked by a coyote when I was hunting rabbits as a kid. I was walking up a little hill, turned around and saw the coyote 100' behind me. He ran off. Afterwards I ran across his tracks in the snow and realized he had been following me, I assume just out of curiosity. I still think that was totally cool, and it never occurred to me that there was any danger (there wasn't).

There was an article some years back about how some populations of coyotes in eastern N. America (I assume in the US) were evolving features that made them more similar to the exterminated wolf population - they were larger, had broader heads and were behaving more like wolves. Just to point out that interbreeding with wolves probably isn't a requirement for larger, more aggressive coyotes.

Finally, we live near Nose Hill Park in Calgary, and sometimes you can hear the coyotes at night, which is thrilling in a city of 1M. Plus I like to imagine all those yappy little mutts cowering under their water dishes.
posted by sneebler at 3:49 PM on October 30, 2009


The Christian Science Monitor has a backgrounder on how dangerous coyotes really are today, based on this story.
posted by immlass at 4:24 PM on October 30, 2009


Full-grown humans? Literally never."

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


The commonly accepted secondary definition for literally is ... wait for it ... virtually or figuratively.

"Since some people take sense 2 to be the opposite of sense 1, it has been frequently criticized as a misuse. Instead, the use is pure hyperbole intended to gain emphasis, but it often appears in contexts where no additional emphasis is necessary."

You may still disagree with my usage, but I do not think the word means only what you think it means.

/pedant
posted by mrgrimm at 10:54 AM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aside:
How long until the first few posts of every metafilter thread consist of:
"First!"
"Damnit, you beat me, LOL"


I don't understand why comments to the effect of, "This is not a worthy Metafilter post," are not summarily deleted. They derail the discussion from the get-go, and their purpose can be accomplished by flagging.

Such comments should be deleted as soon as they are posted.
posted by jayder at 10:59 AM on October 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


It seems to me that "interbreeding with wolves" is the polite way of saying "wolves are raping coyotes." It won't be consensual, I'm pretty sure.

Why so sure, five fresh fish? Ever been around unspayed adult dogs for any length of time?

There's a pic out there on the interwebs of a raccoon (M) mounting a dog (F). The dog didn't seem to mind it one bit. Or are would you assume the 'coon used GHB? ;-)
posted by IAmBroom at 10:16 PM on November 3, 2009


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