Sunday, August 28, 2016

Up in the Tulip Poplar Tree

About three weeks ago I was awakened by crows throwing a fit over something.  They seemed close to the house, so I figured it must be a hawk too near their roosting place.  I sighed and tried to go back to sleep when I heard the hawk also yelling back at them.  Even if you live in the woods the animal neighbors can be just as noisy arguing as that screeching little old lady and the teenage boys on their skateboards!  Still this demeanor was way too early even for me.

I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed to see where this was happening, and discovered as I opened the front door where the cacophony exploded, that it was right outside the garage door in that big old leaning tulip poplar tree...that one we are saving money for to bring down as it is a threat to the garage and upstairs bedroom.

The crows were all around the top of the tree, some flying and some resting on branches cawing with vehemence.  Then I saw the hawk.  (No tripod, so apologies for the blurred images.)


He was not looking at the crows and he was screeching just as loudly toward the center of the tree and then he took flight, perhaps at my sudden appearance.


The 10 or so crows continued to caw in anger and flap their wings, but slowly a few flew away.  I studied the tree and suddenly noticed a HUGE wasp nest.  The shape of a football and three times that size.  Were they angry about a paper wasp nest??  I grabbed the binoculars.


Of course, as I studied with the binoculars I realized it was NOT a wasp nest high up in that tree that was creating such dismay among the feathered ones.



It was a Great Horned Owl. He was resting bored and patient but did give me a bit of a chill when he gave me the evil eye.  This magnificent animal returned on alternate mornings for almost two weeks to sleep sometimes opening his wings slightly on the hottest days and once appeared to have blood on the edge of his wing.  I think when we were planning our canoe trip later and had to load equipment onto the car in the driveway he must have decided to find a quieter roost because I have not seen him for over 5 days.

Still the short visit was a thrill!  Now we are undecided about bringing down that tree.

10 comments:

joeh said...

Lots of excitement. I've often seen the crows scold a hawk even in flight until the hawk could get an up-current and soar higher than the crows cared to try.

Jenny Woolf said...

Oh, what a thrill to see the owl. I have to say it even gave me a thrill, to see that impassive face. I guess if the tree is a danger it might have to come down but I'd be minded to keep it now too.
I have no idea what a tulip poplar looks like. I had better look it up. I'm imagining it with tulip shaped flowers, but I don't know of any poplars which have such flowers. So it will be a bit of a discovery for me. :)

messymimi said...

Perhaps the tree could just be trimmed, especially if an owl likes it.

Linda Reeder said...

What a wonderful experience. thanks for capturing it for us.

Granny Annie said...

What excitement to see and capture a picture of that Great Horned Owl holding still bored with the whole incident. I did love this line in your writing, "I opened the front door where the cacophony exploded...:"

ellen abbott said...

how cool! we have red shouldered hawks that roost in the area and mississippi kites that summer over and nest. we must have owls here but I haven't ever seen any.

Celia said...

Handsome creature and so self-assured.

Kat said...

Oh wow!!!!! A magnificent creature, indeed! I am obsessed with owls. Absolutely love them. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures. What a thrill that must have been to catch him. Much better than a wasp's nest. ;)

Snaggle Tooth said...

Wow! great find! Haven't seen owls at the new place yet.

joared said...

How exciting! I hear an owl occasionally but not of the type you saw.