Critter Stories

TreeVB

Well-Known Member
Location
Boise, Idaho
Anyone have any funny, sad, or frustrating stories of run-ins while climbing?
Yesterday I was removing two flowering pear trees and when I got in the second tree there was a squirrel really standing it’s ground in a second leader near my TIP. I tried poking him with a limb and shook the limb to encourage him to vacate. He had a more desirable plan to climb a little higher and chill. I continued removal in hopes he would be gone before I got to that leader. Time comes and he is still there. Again I poke and shake and the little jerk climbs higher, looks down at me and starts pissing. Partially on me before I was able to get out of the way. Soooooo I had to send him. Fella leaped off before ground contact and bolted straight into the road where he had a tussle with the bumper of a passing car. He seemed fine and bolted off. What an awakening that must have been. Also a bit unusual that I have officially been pissed on by a pissed off squirrel.
Anyway, hoping for some fun/lighthearted stories.
 

chiselbit

Well-Known Member
I’ve got another squirrel story but it wasn’t in a tree, I was driving the chip truck home one day and a hawk snatched a squirrel out of a tree next to the road and swooped in front of the truck, he couldn’t get enough lift and the squirrel collided with my drivers side mirror and flew across the road, landed hard and immediately ran off. I thought to myself, man. That squirrel got grabbed by a hawk, hit by a truck and thrown 20’ onto the ground. All in the space of about 5 seconds.
 

Ben H.

New Member
Location
Springfield
Took out two large silver Maples 4 or so months ago. Backyard, fences, power lines, lots of rigging. Pretty fun job. Anyhow, limbed put the first leader and I’m working back down, chunkin’ as I go when I come to a hollow. I’m on the other side of the leader of said hollow and as I’m adjusting my lanyard, getting comfy, I peek into the hollow to see some strange looking material poking out. All at once I realized, “Holycrapthatsfur!” And I back off a bit. Look down at my groundie, who’s also my brother-in-law, “Dude! There’s a squirrel in the wood!” “Are you serious?! What do you do with that?” “I dunno...” So, after poking it with a stick and reving the saw a bit, seems there’s only one thing to be done. I sent that poor bastard 30’ in a log for the ride of his life. I checked it out when I got down later to see if the little guy was alright. Turns out, after thinking it was a raccoon, he was actually an Opossum, and he was fine, just very pissed off. I figured he was ok cause he was gone the next day.
Not the first time running into an critter, first time with a Possum.
 

TreeVB

Well-Known Member
Location
Boise, Idaho
I’ve got another squirrel story but it wasn’t in a tree, I was driving the chip truck home one day and a hawk snatched a squirrel out of a tree next to the road and swooped in front of the truck, he couldn’t get enough lift and the squirrel collided with my drivers side mirror and flew across the road, landed hard and immediately ran off. I thought to myself, man. That squirrel got grabbed by a hawk, hit by a truck and thrown 20’ onto the ground. All in the space of about 5 seconds.
Apparently they can take a beating!
 

TreeVB

Well-Known Member
Location
Boise, Idaho
Took out two large silver Maples 4 or so months ago. Backyard, fences, power lines, lots of rigging. Pretty fun job. Anyhow, limbed put the first leader and I’m working back down, chunkin’ as I go when I come to a hollow. I’m on the other side of the leader of said hollow and as I’m adjusting my lanyard, getting comfy, I peek into the hollow to see some strange looking material poking out. All at once I realized, “Holycrapthatsfur!” And I back off a bit. Look down at my groundie, who’s also my brother-in-law, “Dude! There’s a squirrel in the wood!” “Are you serious?! What do you do with that?” “I dunno...” So, after poking it with a stick and reving the saw a bit, seems there’s only one thing to be done. I sent that poor bastard 30’ in a log for the ride of his life. I checked it out when I got down later to see if the little guy was alright. Turns out, after thinking it was a raccoon, he was actually an Opossum, and he was fine, just very pissed off. I figured he was ok cause he was gone the next day.
Not the first time running into an critter, first time with a Possum.
Haha, those guys can be vicious. I was removing a pretty large Lombardy in New Zealand a few years ago and had a run in with a couple. There was a large decay pocket in an inclusion about 30 feet up. I was above the hollow and looked down to see them both. Cut a small limb off to probe down at them and one burst out and ran down the tree and the other one took a few steps and squared up to me. I grabbed my top handle super quick ready to show it what’s what but it decided to run down as well. Almost would have been a pretty interesting situation.
 

27RMT0N

Well-Known Member
Location
WA
More animal encounters than I can keep track of, but here are a few I could think of off the top of my head from recent work that I have photos of. (I've posted a few of these here before)

Deer eating brush as I'm pruning. I've even had them under the tree I was climbing in at the time, but can't find those photos.

00 deer ground helpers.jpg

A pair of bald eagles in the tree right before I was about to spur up and start removing it.

DSCN8044 (Custom).JPG

A treefrog at about 60', grabbed him and tried to transfer it to another tree, but he jumped out of my hand to the ground. Was probably ok though?

00 frog 01.jpg

00 frog 02.jpg

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Racoons in a neighboring cedar I was about to climb into. I was actually worried about this one because I thought I was going to wind up cornering them in the tree, but somehow they disappeared and I didn't have to get into a scuffle with them!

00 raccoons in tree.jpg

This one was a trip. The owl was just chilling on the ground where we had just moved some plywood, and it and the deer kept checking each other out. The owl stayed around for like 2 hours, not even scared of the chainsaws or the running chipper!

DSCN1208 (Large).JPG

On the limb in the upper right:

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DSCN1227 (Large).JPG
 

Mitch Hoy

Well-Known Member
Location
Rochester
Every early spring when it’s still stupid cold, I will have to evict a nest of baby squirrels from a tree I am removing, usually hollow red Oaks. I used to have a lady who would rescue them, but she went MIA. Now I just hear the screams of a thousand squirrels at night

We were removing two big willows by crane once. I got down to the main union on the second willow and started clearing a big nest to make my cut, when the spotter freaked out below me. Evidently, I had thrown a large possum out of the tree, almost dropping it on the oiler. I had no idea, which is lucky... ignorance is sometimes the best courage!
 

Sgfinco

Active Member
Location
Madison
I have tussled with a bakers dozen or so raccoons in the last 8 years... scariest one was rigging of the end of a dead elm limb, watch it run to the ground and look back to a big angry raccoon 10" from my face climbing out of where I was tied into with my lanyard.

Also had a farmer shoot a raccoon 3' above my head, that made me almost as mad as the racoon that got shot.

Cut one in half right as I started doing tree work and had to pull the little ones out of the nest.
 

treesap

Active Member
Location
in the treetops
I have tussled with a bakers dozen or so raccoons in the last 8 years... scariest one was rigging of the end of a dead elm limb, watch it run to the ground and look back to a big angry raccoon 10" from my face climbing out of where I was tied into with my lanyard.

Also had a farmer shoot a raccoon 3' above my head, that made me almost as mad as the racoon that got shot.

Cut one in half right as I started doing tree work and had to pull the little ones out of the nest.
reminds me the time my brother and I were squirrel hunting around christmas time last year, neighbors son didnt look behind what he shot at, heard a pop and a whistle/crack as a piece of lead went right between my brother and I, bet yer @$$ I yelled at him, im still mad
 

Dan Cobb

New Member
Location
Hoover
Had a small sweetgum in my yard that formerly had a hairy woodpecker nest. Had a nice vantage point to watch the parents feeding the babies with a telescope. Anyhow, a few years later I'm taking down the dying tree. After drifting one section down to my driveway, I find two baby flying squirrels on the driveway that got dumped out of their nest hole when the piece landed. Hadn't noticed the nest hole on the back side of the spar. 20191118_195652.jpg
 

moss

Well-Known Member
More animal encounters than I can keep track of, but here are a few I could think of off the top of my head from recent work that I have photos of. (I've posted a few of these here before)

Deer eating brush as I'm pruning. I've even had them under the tree I was climbing in at the time, but can't find those photos.

View attachment 72713

A pair of bald eagles in the tree right before I was about to spur up and start removing it.

View attachment 72714

A treefrog at about 60', grabbed him and tried to transfer it to another tree, but he jumped out of my hand to the ground. Was probably ok though?

View attachment 72715

View attachment 72716

View attachment 72717

Racoons in a neighboring cedar I was about to climb into. I was actually worried about this one because I thought I was going to wind up cornering them in the tree, but somehow they disappeared and I didn't have to get into a scuffle with them!

View attachment 72718

This one was a trip. The owl was just chilling on the ground where we had just moved some plywood, and it and the deer kept checking each other out. The owl stayed around for like 2 hours, not even scared of the chainsaws or the running chipper!

View attachment 72719

On the limb in the upper right:

View attachment 72720

View attachment 72721
Great photos! Tree frog can make that drop fine as long as the landing zone was decent enough.
-AJ
 

surveyor

Well-Known Member
Location
NC
Just now I was leaving my moms log cabin in the woods, where she has a large chicken wire walk in enclosure in the front yard I made for her chicken, when I noticed 2 robins fluttering around in a panic inside the enclosure (the door was open). As I was watching the commotion another bird came bombing in at speed and banged into the wire just on the outside of where the robin was, and immediately bounced off and flew off. Before I had time to process what was happening, he came bombing in again with the same result, and then a third try. Finally he flew off a short piece onto a limb and sat there frustrated, then I could see he was a very small hawk, not much bigger than the robins he was after.

There is also a large pileated woodpecker that shows up occasionally, with his characteristic swooping flight from tree to tree.
 

moss

Well-Known Member
Just now I was leaving my moms log cabin in the woods, where she has a large chicken wire walk in enclosure in the front yard I made for her chicken, when I noticed 2 robins fluttering around in a panic inside the enclosure (the door was open). As I was watching the commotion another bird came bombing in at speed and banged into the wire just on the outside of where the robin was, and immediately bounced off and flew off. Before I had time to process what was happening, he came bombing in again with the same result, and then a third try. Finally he flew off a short piece onto a limb and sat there frustrated, then I could see he was a very small hawk, not much bigger than the robins he was after.

There is also a large pileated woodpecker that shows up occasionally, with his characteristic swooping flight from tree to tree.

Sounds like a Sharp-shinned Hawk!
-AJ
 

Rusticus

New Member
Location
Kerrville
We dropped a walnut snag and a big fat racoon ran out. When we started cutting it up, we found a few brand new racoons that didn't even have their eyes open. Using some of the hollow pieces, we made a little coon hideout so mama coon could make it back and claim her babies. The customers loved it and still show the picture to their friends and talk about the tree guys that were being nature's friend that day.
 

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oldoakman

Well-Known Member
Location
Alorgia
We dropped a walnut snag and a big fat racoon ran out. When we started cutting it up, we found a few brand new racoons that didn't even have their eyes open. Using some of the hollow pieces, we made a little coon hideout so mama coon could make it back and claim her babies. The customers loved it and still show the picture to their friends and talk about the tree guys that were being nature's friend that day.
I have a similar story. When I worked for the City up north we had a dead oak in one of the parks. Stretched out the bucket as far as it would go and dumped the top, out pops mam raccoon. She went down the outside about 6 feet then came back up and into the hollow. The next cut was below her and she went with the log but about half way down she bailed out of the log, it the ground, shook herself off and waddled away. When I got to the bottom of the hollow there were 5 kits. We put a piece of burlap over the top of the log to shade them and mom came back and retrieved them.

Also snuck up on a sleeping screech owl one time.
 

Jzack605

Well-Known Member
Location
Long island
We have three black rabbits hanging out in our yard right now. Not sure if that’s a bad omen or someone’s pets. They’re not too scared of people but won’t let you pick them up.
 

TreeVB

Well-Known Member
Location
Boise, Idaho
Fun stories and good to see no injuries from them. I have worked a tree with a family of raccoons one time and mom just came out of her hollow to make sure we were keeping our distance. The second we got back on the ground she went right back inside.
Removing a Ponderosa came to a nest of baby squirrels. Loaded them in a rope bag and slidelined them out.
I started my arboriculture career in Hawaii so insects used to be the "fun" of the day. Coconut tree pruning was ridiculous with the cane spiders, centipedes, and occasional rat nest. Cane spiders and geckos were always interesting to watch fly out of the trees. They spread their legs out and literally glide away from the tree to a soft landing. Bit by a centipede in a fan palm once and is definitely something I never want to repeat. Watched a rat launch about 4' vertical off the top of a coconut tree that was being removed when my boss hit its tail with a chainsaw. Didn't know it was there even after removing all fronds. It didn't make sense it was able to jump straight up like that but pretty funny to see. Kind of like how cats tend to quickly levitate upwards when they get a fright.
 

metaspencer

Member
Location
Urbana, IL
I swear, there is a squirrel hiding at the top of every tree this winter. This one freaked me out! But instead of jumping for it, like some do, this one just ran down past me. Better than the bat I had last summer.
 

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