We do not know his name. We know only that he likes his spot in the soaring sequoia tree and that he appears in no rush to come down.

Officials in Seattle were first alerted to the man who had roosted in the 80ft tree in the city’s centre on Tuesday morning. Officers tried to coax him down from his spot near the Macy’s department store, but he refused to engage verbally and responded instead by hurling apples, and then pine cones, at them and emergency medics.

The Seattle police seemed mystified by the man’s motives. “Issue appears to be between the man and the tree,” the force said on Twitter.

“It is quite a spectacle, honestly,” police spokesman Patrick Michaud told The Seattle Times.

Mr Michaud said police wanted to make sure the man could get down without hurting himself or someone else, and added that rushing the situation could create a dangerous situation. Police have said he appeared to be suffering from a crisis and had been yelling intermittently.

The incident has attracted many onlookers and a local TV station showed the incident live all day on Tuesday. It has also grown in popularity on social media with new Twitter accounts dedicated to it and the hashtag #manintree trending on Twitter and Facebook.

By Wednesday morning, it appeared the man was still in his roost, having constructed some sort of platform for the night. Negotiators with assistance from the Seattle Fire Department, were on a fire truck ladder still trying to talk the man down.

Meanwhile, reports said the tree had been there since the 1970s, surviving a 2006 storm stripped that lopped it of its top 10 feet. Over the next four years, the tree’s health deteriorated, prompting an examination by an internationally known tree expert and emergency soil treatment from the city transportation department's Urban Forestry unit.

Reports said that both the man and the tree would be checked by experts once he comes down. Or rather, if he comes down.

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