xt7jh98zct60_51 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086.dao.xml Bevins, Martha 0.05 Cubic Feet 55 items archival material 2015ms086 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Martha Bevins letters to Tom McCarthy Radio broadcasting. Agriculture -- Kentucky. Birds Women air pilots. 1959 March 4 text 1959 March 4 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_51/1959_3_4_Bevins_Nesting_Owls_p1.pdf 1959 March 4 1959 1959 March 4 section false xt7jh98zct60_51 xt7jh98zct60 '
Morning View Kentucky
4 March 1959

Hello Mr. McCarthy,
Somehow, perhaps under the cover of stormy nights, the local pair
of great horned owls succeeded, last month, in accomplishing
what they have been trying to do for years. They are nesting in
the tree patch. Because this particular species of owl is becoming
very scarce in our area, I have permitted them to seek refuge in
the big trees during hunting season, but have discouraged their
nesting or feeding here because they would frighten -- and eat-—
my birds and little animals.
Great horned owls reign as killers over their territory, taking
a heavy toll of the inhabitants of woodland and meadow. However,
to their credit, theirs is not the murderous, Wanton slaughter of
theweasel. They hunt only for food, the trouble lying in the fact
that they are enormous birds and their appetites are proportionately
a tree full of sudden, equalling crows brought the big owls‘ nest
to my attention. Near the northern edge of the tree patchestands
a great white oak, which, by some long~ago mishap, lost its

. main trunk about fifty feet above the ground. Through the years,
vast branches grew steeply upward from Just below the break, and
formed a great rounded dome high above.
I frightened the crows away from this tree and looked suSpiciously
at the stub of the original trunk. It is as big as a barrel and,
of course, has been hollowed out by exposure. Obviously something
was in it. Q
Whacking the tree with a stick brought the giant female horned owl
immediately and indignantly out of the cavity. She peered uncertainly
down at me, and, because the day was heavily clouded, could identify
me. When she flew, she Was so big she frightened me, apparently
more than I frightened her, for she changed her mind and cincled
back to the nest. again the great face with its sharp, feathered
horns glared down at me, then she Was gone into the stub.
I Was sure she was nesting there or she would not hare otherwise
returned While I still stood at the foot of the tree. I knew I
could verify the nest if I could locate the male owl nearby, so
called some blue jays to assist in the hunt. I gave them peanuts,
then walked slole under likely trees, until, those peanuts consumed,
the jays came tagging along for more.
At an ancient oak, they forgot peanuts, and, clustering about a hole
high in its trunk, shouted seriously. Blue jays are very easy to
understand, and this calling was the urgent announcement of the
presence of a deadly enemy, completely unlike their playful hubbub


when they discover a tiny screech owl in his hiding place. I had
found the male horned owl. .
For several days I carried on a continuous debate With myself
as to what I should do about the owl nest. If there were eggs
in it, my destroying them would drive the great birds away. If
the eggs had already hatched, I could do nothing. After much
uncertainty, I decided to let them remain until the owlets are
sufficiently mature to fly.
Once having concluded that the huge owls should nest undisturbed,
I settled down to observe them. Feeding hungry youngsters brings
them forth before full darkness in the evening and keeps them busy
after dawn in the morning. To see them, I need only peer among
the half-visible trees until I find what appears to be a misplaced
nail keg sitting upon a branch. They are very vocal now, talking
back and forth through the hours‘of darkness -— not their great
echoing, frightening call, but rather a series of minor hoots and
garbled mumblings.
On more than one occasion, the enormous female has flown low over
my head, and whenever she does, I am again astonished that such a
large, bulky creature can move through the air with such total
soundlessness. Once she passed close immediately after a hard rain,
and though she must certainly have been wet, there was not the

' slightest whisper from the great wings.
Fortunately for the frightened little inhabitants of the tree
patch, both owls do most of their hunting elsewhere, showing a
preference“for the scrubby slopes of the small valley which wanders
southeastWard from this ridge.
Though I watch the great owls with pleasure and not a little awe, I
shall be glad when the youngsters emerge and they move to other
territory. It will be necessary for me to he more alert when they
nest again next February.
Best wishes to you all,
Still enjoying your novel thoroughly. I was startled when you wrote
_of the problems arising from the flood of refugees across the
countryside. It Was something which I (and I would guess most

, rural residents) had not thought of at all. If cities don't send
their survivors to planned shelter areas, the results could be