To the rescue - at last

Recently, a male Barred Owl was sighted occupying a branch in Hootie’s former territory. Notice how his mottled camouflaged plumage blends in with the tree bark. Males are usually about 1/3 smaller than females. Could this be Hootie’s son?  And if so, will he faithfully carry out his duty to thin out the exploding population of arrogant squirrels, who have no respect for any land owner? Only time will tell. Should I warn the squirrels? Nahhaaaa! Go get ‘em HOOTIE II!!!! (Photo by Joe Lively)

Hootie II - To the Rescue

From my perspective, I would have to go along with a popular consensus that 2020 was mostly a disastrous year. Particularly toward the end. I battled COVID-19 (and thank you Lord, I survived) and then had a molar tooth crack laterally, which caused an extremely painful abscess. Perhaps the greatest pain resulted from my computer memory being partially obliterated. Thousands of photos and hundreds of articles just vanished. One of these contained some essential information that would be the basis for this article. Fortunately, APPLE was able to retrieve some missing data.

One article that I really wanted to retrieve concerned a wild critter that was affectionately dubbed “Hootie.” Hope my memory can recall the essence. I would be flattered, if some of my readers recalled the article. With much patience, this huge, female barred owl became literally tamed. After hearing my call, she would tolerate my approach to within 5 - 10 feet from her perch and she wouldn’t budge. No one else could get near her without her taking flight. 

Such a bond of trust was established that she would sometimes fly toward me and land on a nearby, low, oak tree branch. If I presented Hootie with a frozen treat, she would bend down and very gently, use her beak to pluck the squirrel from my hand. Usually, she would take the offering and fly off to a larger branch. A chain saw couldn’t have skinned that squirrel any faster.

For years, my readers heard my complaints about squirrels conspiring to come from a 10 county radius to raid my pecan trees. Grasping nuts by the cluster, these arrogant critters would soon strip every precious pecan from my trees. Their action prevented me from savoring even a modest sized pie from having been lovingly baked by my wife or daughter. Reports also come in about squirrels chewing through home siding and making nests in your insulation. They are on record for having chewed through PVC waterlines and electrical wiring, which caused water damage and fires. They have even chewed on the wiring circuits in our vehicles. No, squirrels aren’t less guilty than rats or mice.

Fortunately, all Hootie birds have an incredible natural array of natural sensory equipment, to help them detect and eliminate particularly offensive behavior caused by rats, mice and tree rats (squirrels). The original Hootie noticeably reduced the population of rodents. But alas, she must have found more fertile grounds. Haven’t seen the original Hootie for several years. But quite recently, I saw another, smaller Barred Owl. Several times, this little male was observed perching on a branch in the original Hootie’s immediate territory. Things are looking up. Maybe this will be HOOTIE II - to the rescue.

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