CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – As the leaves on the trees begin to fall, the branches and anything living on them become more visible. If you see a large, round collection of leaves in your tree, it’s not a bird’s nest but actually a home for squirrels.
These large clumps of leaves are called dreys, according to MassAudubon. All different types of squirrels in Massachusetts create these nests, including the Eastern Gray Squirrel, Red Squirrel, and Northern and Southern Flying Squirrel. A drey can be up to one to two feet wide and are typically located more than 20 feet up in the tree. They can typically be found in oak trees as they provide an easy source of food… acorns!
The nest can start as birds nests until the squirrel moves in and adds more leaves and branches as well as layers of moss or pine needles. Dreys are fully surrounded by the material and squirrels will stay inside the middle of the nest. You’ll see these dreys located in your tree built near a fork between two strong branches or inside a tree cavity.
Squirrels will use these dreys mostly during the summer but will also stay in them during the winter months if they can not find a warmer place to stay, such as your attic. If you were wondering, Eastern Fay Squirrels do not hibernate so they are out looking for food all year round.
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