Animal Behavior

Coyote Management Research

Jaclyn Findlay (Student Research Assistant) setting up a game camera in Culver City, California

Since June 2019, CURes has been working alongside the city of Culver City to develop a long-term plan to control coyote activity in local residential neighborhoods. In this three-year plan, we are asking questions, such as: What are their preferred food sources? How do they use our neighborhoods and surrounding areas? Are there behavioral differences between coyotes that are successful in urban neighborhoods and those that stick to the natural areas? To answer these questions, we will be installing automated camera systems, also called “critter cams,” to monitor coyote and other wildlife behavior and movement patterns within the city. These will be installed in parks and other green spaces as well as backyards throughout the city. In addition, in collaboration with the National Parks Service, we will be trapping and radio collaring coyotes to monitor movement patterns through both cities and natural areas. To learn more about their preferred food sources, we will be collecting coyote scat and identifying prey items within it. We will also be learning more about how humans feel about coyotes by interviewing residents and how humans are attracting coyotes to their backyards by doing coyote risk assessments in yards throughout Culver City. If you would like a critter cam in your yard, if you are interested in a backyard assessment survey, or if you find coyote scat, please contact Dr. Melinda Weaver at to participate in one of these studies!

CURes recently completed a three-year study in the City of Long Beach, in which they analyzed scat samples and thousands of photographs taken in Long Beach. Results of this study will indicate how many coyotes are consuming cats vs natural prey sources and will reveal activity patterns and interactions with other animals.

City of Long Beach Coyote Management Report

Hummingbird Metabolism

Motion activated video camera setup to record hummingbird feeding behaviors.
Motion activated video camera setup to record hummingbird feeding behaviors.

This study aims to understand the nighttime metabolic state of nesting female hummingbirds. Specifically, whether those birds go into torpor at night, which is a hibernation-like state that hummingbirds enter when they must conserve energy. The study uses multiple sites in California, Massachusetts, and Costa Rica to get a more holistic understanding of the birds' behavior.

To learn more about the project, you can read the CURes blog post about it, or a featured article in LMU Magazine.

Hummingbird Live Cams

You can view all of the Bird Cams via our YouTube channel here.


Beverly Hills, CA Hummingbird Cam, Sponsored by The Gottlieb Native Garden (GNG)

This live cam is located at the home of Dan and Susan Gottlieb, the funders of our educational hummingbird cam project. Located in the heart of their garden oasis teeming with wildlife, the feeders attract a variety of resident and migratory hummingbird species.

Partners & Sponsors: Dan & Susan Gottlieb


Burbank, CA Hummingbird Cam, Sponsored by The Gottlieb Native Garden (GNG)

Feeders at this suburban residential location in the hills of Burbank, CA have been established here for over 20 years. The quantity of resident and migratory hummingbirds that feed here is astounding!

Partners: Jeff & Linnea Milam, Burbank, CA


Cape Cod, MA Bird & Hummingbird Cams, Sponsored by The Gottlieb Native Garden (GNG)

Located on the east coast of the US, this suburban residential location has seed feeders in view during the fall and winter, which will afford views of song birds and woodpeckers. During the spring and summer, hummingbird feeders will be in view, and will be visited by only one hummingbird species that visits this area: the Ruby-throated hummingbird Archilochus colubris.

Partners: Peter and Maria Auger, Cape Cod, MA.


CURes Lab Hummingbird Cam, Sponsored by The Gottlieb Native Garden (GNG)

Located outside a window at the Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) Lab on the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) campus, this hummingbird cam will allow viewers to see the two most common hummingbird species on campus: the Allen’s hummingbird Selasphorus sasin and the Anna’s hummingbird Calypte anna. On rare occasions, other hummingbird species migrating through may stop by for a visit!

Partner: LMU CURes


Monteverde, Costa Rica Hummingbird Cam, Sponsored by The Gottlieb Native Garden (GNG) - coming soon

This live hummingbird cam is located at the Monteverde Institute (MVI) in the heart of the cloud forest in Costa Rica. Viewers watching this cam will be astonished at the beauty, quantity, and diversity of hummingbird species visiting these feeders, including the Violet sabrewing Campylopterus hemileucurus, the Green-crowned brilliant Heliodoxa jacula, among many others.

Partners: The Monteverde Institute (MVI), Mark Wainwright, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Human-Animal Bond

In partnership with the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista, CURes is developing formal and informal educational materials on the importance of the human-animal bond. Dr. Eric Strauss (CURes Executive Director) is one of 15 Wallis Annenberg Leadership Institute Fellows, who are working in a cross-disciplinary capacity to research and better understand the relationship humans form with animals, particularly pets.

Predator aversion studies to reduce crow predation on eggs of the California least tern

Adult least tern in Venice Beach, CA.
Adult least tern in Venice Beach, CA.

The endangered California least tern, which nests in a colony on Venice Beach, has endured five consecutive years of reproductive failure due to heavy predation from American crows. Therefore, an experiment was deployed in 2014 in an attempt to condition the crows to refrain from consuming tern eggs and negatively impacting the viability of the tern population. This was done through electrified decoy tern nests that delivered small shocks to predating crows to reduce harmful behaviors. Learn more about radio telemetry here.

The CURes team is currently working to identify crows on Venice Beach and implement an aversion plan in Spring 2019.

Past Studies

Mesopredator studies tracking the movement and dynamics of coyotes and feral cats in the Ballona Wetlands

At CURes, we are particularly interested in the role that medium sized predators (meso-predators), such as coyotes, outdoor cats and American Crows play in the ecology of mixed urban habitats. Because cites are inhospitable to the largest of the region's predators, such as mountain lions and bears, the smaller predators may take on an expanded importance in the flow of energy through the urban ecosystem.

In addition, urban predators sometimes end up in conflicts with human inhabitants or inflict excessive predator pressure on vulnerable animal populations that are already stressed by the habitat degradation that happens in cities. The research team at CURes conducted a study on feral cats in the Ballona Wetlands to help develop a humane and effective management strategy to alleviate the conflicts that arise among humans and animals. This was done through radio telemetry and movement pattern monitoring.

Wolf-Hybrid Studies

Wolf hybrids at the research site in Frazier Park, CA.
Wolf hybrids at the research site in Frazier Park, CA.

CURes, alongside researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School at the Broad Institute, embarked on a wolf hybrid project in Frazier Park, CA, to learn how wolf-dog hybrids can inform us of human psychiatric diseases. The team studied stimulus response variations between the hybrids to examine the possible link between these animals and autism in humans. Learn more here