This study measured the population dynamics of coyotes in the grasslands and creosote shrublands of McKenzie Flats, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. The study was begun in January, 1992, and continued quarterly each year. Coyotes were sampled via scat counts along the roads of McKenzie Flats during winter, spring, summer, and fall of each year. The entire road transect was 21.5 miles in length. Scat counts over a week period (number of scats/mile/day) in each season along the roads were used to calculate the densities of coyotes (number of coyotes per square kilometer). Results from 1992 to 2002 indicated that autumn was the peak density period of the year, with generally steady declines through the year until the following autumn. Coyote populations appeared to fluctuate seasonally, but remained relatively stable at 0.27 +/- 0.03 (SE) coyotes per km2 during summer periods (this likely represents the "breeding pair" density, during which coyote pairs have set up territories and are raising young, but the pups have not as yet joined the parents in foraging activities).


Other Identifier


Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB) Identifier


Document Type



This dataset was originally published on the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network Data Portal,, and potentially via other repositories or portals as described. The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the source data package is doi:10.6073/pasta/6fb871e487e9a795f417a45a524b295f, and may be accessed at Metadata and files included in this record mirror as closely as possible the source data and documentation, with the provenance metadata and quality report generated by the LTER portal reproduced here as '*-provenance.xml' and *-report.html' files, respectively.


Data Policies: This dataset is released to the public and may be freely downloaded. Please keep the designated Contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement of the Sevilleta LTER. Datasets must be cited as in the example provided. A copy of any publications using these data must be supplied to the Sevilleta LTER Information Manager. By downloading any data you implicitly acknowledge the LTER Data Policy (


Temporal coverage

1992-01-24 - 2002-07-31

Spatial coverage

Location: McKenzie Flats is located within the northeastern section of the Sevilleta NWR, encompassing an area from Black Butte south to Palo Duro Canyon and east to the Los Pinos.Landform: McKenzie Flats is a broad, nearly flat grassland plain between the Los Pinos Mountains and the breaks on the east side of the Rio Grande., Geology: Deep (20,000 ft) alluvial and aeolian deposits., Soils: Turney Series: fine-loamy, mixed, thermic Typic Calciorthids. Berino Series: fine-loamy, mixed, thermic Typic Haplargids., Hydrology: Surface water only during rain events, no arroyos. Run-on plain for Los Pinos Mountains., Vegetation: The terrain is generally a mixed-species desert grassland, dominated by black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda), blue grama (B. gracilis), sand muhly (Muhlenbergia arenicola), various drop seeds and sacatons (Sporobolus spp.), purple three-awn (Aristida purpurea), and burrow grass (Scleropogon brevifolia). Shrubs are common in the area around Five Points, including creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) and snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)., Climate: Long-term mean annual precipitation is 243 mm, about 60% of which occurs during the summer. Long-term mean monthly temperatures for January and July are 1.5 degrees C and 25.1 degrees C, respectively., History: McKenzie Flats encompasses an area of approximately 50 square miles and was one of the primary livestock grazing areas within what is now the Sevilleta NWR. Cattle have been excluded from the site since 1974-76. The ranch headquarters buildings and corrals were located at the junction of Legs C and D of the coyote survey. , siteid: 25Location: The Black Butte Mixed Grass site is located just inside the gate and to the south of Black Butte. This site is grassland, characterized by Oryzopsis hymenoides, Sporobolus giganteus, Sporobolus flexuosus, Bouteloua eriopoda, and occasional shrubs, including Gutierrezia sarothrae and Yucca glauca. Forbs include Senecio douglasii, Baileyi multiradiata, and Sphaeralcea spp. This site contains the fertilizer study plots, which are located less than one mile from the Black Butte gate on the east side of the road to Five Points.Landform: Basalt formation., Vegetation: Grasses include blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), black grama (B. eriopoda), galleta grass (Pleuraphis jamesii), dropseed (Sporobolus spp.), Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides), and burro grass (Scleropogon brevifolius). Creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) also occurs frequently. , siteid: 47Location: Five Points is the area which encompasses the Five Points Black Grama and Five Points Creosote Core study sites and falls along the transition between Chihuahuan Desert Scrub and Desert Grassland habitats. Both sites are subject to intensive research activity, including NPP measurement, phenology observation, pollinator diversity studies, and ground dwelling arthropod and rodent population assessments. There are drought rain-out shelters in both the Black Grama and Creosote sites, as well as the mixed-ecotone, with co-located ET Towers.Vegetation: The Five Points Creosote site is characterized as Chihuahuan Desert Scrub, dominated by a creosotebush overstory with broom snakeweed, purple pricklypear (O. macrocentra) and soapweed yucca as notable shrubs. The site is also characterized by numerous dense grass dominated patches, reflecting proximity to the Five Points Black Grama site and the relatively recent appearance of creosotebush. Dominant grasses are black grama, fluffgrass (Dasyochloa pulchellum), burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolia), bush muhly (M. porteri), and galleta (Pleuraphis jamesii). Notable forb species include field bahia (Bahia absinthifolia), baby aster (Chaetopappa ericoides), plains hiddenflower (Cryptantha crassisepala), Indian rushpea (Hoffmannseggia glauca), Fendlers bladderpod (Lesquerella fendleri), and globemallow (Sphaeralcea spp.). Five Points Black Grama habitat is ecotonal in nature, bordering Chihuahuan Desert Scrub at its southern extent and Plains-Mesa Grassland at its northern, more mesic boundary. There is also a significant presence of shrubs, particularly broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), along with less abundant fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Mormon tea (Ephedra torreyana), winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata), tree cholla (Opuntia imbricata), club cholla (O. clavata), desert pricklypear (O. phaeacantha), soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca), and what are presumed to be encroaching, yet sparsely distributed, creosotebush (Larrea tridentata). Characteristically, the dominant grass is black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda). Spike, sand, and mesa dropseed grasses (Sporobolus contractus, S. cryptandrus, S. flexuosus) and sand muhly (Muhlenbergia arenicola) could be considered co-dominant throughout, along with blue grama (B. gracilis) in a more mesic, shallow swale on the site. Notable forb species include trailing four o’clock (Allionia incarnata), horn loco milkvetch (Astragalus missouriensis), sawtooth spurge (Chamaesyce serrula), plains hiddenflower (Cryptantha crassisepala), blunt tansymustard (Descarania obtusa), wooly plaintain (Plantago patagonica), globemallow (Sphaeralcea wrightii), and mouse ear (Tidestromia lanuginosa)., siteid: 2Location: Palo Duro Canyon is south of Five-Points and McKenzie Flats. Research in the area has included core vegetation line-intercept transects, re-sampling historic BLM vegetation transects, paleoecological studies of packrat middens, vegetation monitoring of the northern-most ocotillo population, and, most recently, the Very Large Moisture Array. A posrtion of the bird community assessment project was also located here.Vegetation: Vegetation is highly variable ranging from Arroyo riparian to Chihuahuan Desert Scrub,



Permanent URL

knb-lter-sev.49.130517-metadata.html (80 kB)
Show full metadata

knb-lter-sev.49.130517-provenance.xml (3 kB)
Show provenance metadata

knb-lter-sev.49.130517-report.html (26 kB)
Show original LTER Network Data Portal ingest report

sev049_coyotescat_01192006.txt (84 kB)
Data in TXT format


Article Location