Wily coyote

On a chilly morning last week, Watershed Post reader Frieda Suess snapped this photo of a coyote near the Darling dairy farm in Roxbury, New York.

"His fur is a red/gray mix, and the tall pointed ears determines it's a coyote and not a wolf," Suess writes.

A century ago, coyotes were nowhere to be found in the mountains of upstate New York. After eastern timber wolves were hunted to extinction in the region, coyotes began moving back in, and are now thriving in the Catskills.

But the wolf is not entirely gone from these hills: Many of the Northeast's coyotes are in fact coyote-wolf hybrids, according to recent genetic studies -- and their wolfish genes are making them larger, stronger, and better suited to hunting deer than their more purebred western cousins.

We cropped the photo to get a closer look at its furry subject. Click here to see the original, posted in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.