With the goal of not spooking any deer, I arrived at my Roanoke County, Virginia tree stand during the state's urban archery season extra early this morning. A heavy fog caused me to drive slowly to the property, but I still managed to arrive about an hour before sunrise. Not long after arriving, I sat through a performance of a variety of creatures.
Just minutes after I had settled into the stand, I heard a rustling of leaves and feared that a whitetail had already shown up. But the source was a squirrel that had decided to begin its nut cracking extra early. Next was a barred owl which began to belt out "who cooks for you, waaaaah" for my pleasure.
I then expected to hear a great-horned owl or perhaps a screech owl to lend their voices, but that did not happen. Instead a killdeer made its trademark sound, giving this avian the title of the second species to greet the morn.
As daybreak grew closer, more birds began to join in: pileated woodpeckers, blue jays, white-breasted nuthatches, and, of course, crows and ravens. Later, Carolina chickadees, Carolina wrens, red-bellied woodpeckers, and downy woodpeckers announced that they too were awake.
Interestingly, I did hear a screech owl but it was not until 9:00 A.M. And I did not see but one deer all morning and that one at 9:18 and some 100 yards away. The deer hunting was poor, but the birding, as it is most days, was interesting.