From before sunrise until 7:40, we listened as two great horned owls belted out their "hoo, hoo-hoo," continuing their contest concerning which was the most dominant until well over 30 minutes past sunrise. I found the verbal battle fascinating as I have infrequently heard the great horned continue so long past sunrise.
Of course, the reason for this duel is that the mating season is in full swing for this species. Egg laying can begin sometime in January, and the males obviously have to settle issues about mates and territories long before then.
Joining the owls in a cacophony of sound was a mob of crows which chose sunrise as the time to harass a hawk of an indeterminate species. The outcome was as it usually is in such matters, that is, more and more crows rushing to the hubbub, more and more raucous cawing, ended finally by the raptor taking wing for a quieter neighborhood. Of course, the hawk will likely be back tomorrow and the whole issue will have to be discussed anew, but not likely settled.
We went home without a deer, but the morning was a glorious and memorable one.