Monday, January 25, 2016

Does Anyone Live in this Tree?

Does Anyone Live in this Tree?
Oak Tree in January, © B. Radisavljevic


I saw this oak tree about a year ago on Linne Road, and it seemed to be a perfect place for an animal home. Since I'm a curious sort, I decided to take a closer look.  You can click any photo for a closer look.





I noticed the hole in the trunk right away, which is why I wanted to examine the tree more closely. It's not very far off the ground, but it's quite hollow. Let's get a little nearer.





Does Anyone Live in this Tree?
Hollow in Oak Tree in January, © B. Radisavljevic



A closer look inside reveals lots of room for even a large nest, and it's obvious there's an abundant supply of acorns for any animal in residence. The question is which animal may live here, if any. Maybe no one is in residence anymore, but perhaps some animal may have called it home. Many small mammals would enjoy having so much food close at hand. In autumn there is not only an acorn crop, but there is also a vineyard right on the other side of the fence. What squirrel, raccoon, opossum, or skunk wouldn't be happy with such a convenient food supply?

Does Anyone Live in this Tree?
Inside the Hollow of Oak Tree in January, © B. Radisavljevic

Whether or not anyone lives or has lived here, I'm quite sure there are squirrels in the vicinity because I've seen them. I've never been here at night, so I've never had the opportunity to see the nocturnal animals. Perhaps squirrels have sought shelter here from time to time to enjoy a few acorns in peace. We are looking deep inside the tree here with a flash, so I believe a squirrel would be invisible to a hawk flying overhead were it to hide here.

Now that I've satisfied my  curiosity as to what's inside the tree, I will look above it.  I think the treetops against the sky are a prettier sight on this January day.

Does Anyone Live in this Tree?
 Oak Treetop in January, © B. Radisavljevic

Who do you think lives or lived in this tree?

If you'd like to learn more about squirrels and other small animals who might have lived here, read one of these books. I loved the Burgess Animal Stories, and the first one I ever read was The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel. My five-year-old self was enthralled by it, and my son loved it just as much. Burgess writes fiction that gives animals human emotions and motivations while staying true to their habits and natural characteristics. Read more about my introduction to the Thornton Burgess books here.  Bonus: If you click through you'll  also  see a photo of me as a toddler.