Over the weekend a line of strong storms with some very gusty winds blew across Louisiana. In the wake of the storms, there were some scattered limbs and a lot of leaves strewn about yards and parking lots too. The storms cleaned a lot of the dead and dying leaves from the tree branches but that has left something interesting behind.

Linzy's Vids via YouTube
Linzy's Vids via YouTube
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Take a look at the trees where you live and work this morning. As you peek between the barren branches where all the leaves used to be, you just might notice it. Do you see a large mass of what appears to be branches and leaves all wadded up together?

Now there is nothing unusual about seeing what appears to be a "nest" up in a tree. But what kind of nest is that? The traditional bird's nest appears to be much smaller. And it looks, based on the age of the material that was used to build it as if this "nest" has been in the tree for a while.

Barth Bailey Unsplash.com
Barth Bailey Unsplash.com
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Certainly, it is plausible that a large bird could have built the nest. But, in the world of reasonable people, if a large bird had built the nest, I probably would have noticed a large bird flying in and out of a tree near my home. I haven't seen any such eagles, vultures, geese, or birds with a significant wingspan at any time over the summer months.

What is Building the Large Nests in My Backyard Trees?

Many of you who frequent Louisiana outdoors during the fall months have already figured out the mystery behind the big balls of leaves and sticks on the top of our trees. The nests are often referred to as "dreys". What most of us in Louisiana call them is "a squirrel nest".

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WIldFilmsIndia via YouTube
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Louisiana has three types of squirrels that are common among our treetops. Those types of squirrels are the Eastern Grey Squirrel, the Fox Squirrel, and the Flying Squirrel. Chances are the nest that you might see at the top of your tree belongs to one of these three kinds of squirrel. I believe in my case, it's the Eastern Grey Squirrel that has established a nest in our neighborhood trees.

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The reason you don't notice these "dreys" during the spring and summer is two-fold. One the squirrels build a different kind of nest for the warmer months. It is flatter lighter and more open to allow for cooling breezes. In the fall, when the creatures enter their mating season they build a more substantial drey. Usually in the fork of a tree or a nook in a branch. This provides better stability for the larger and heavier nest.

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So, that's what all of those large piles of leaves at the top of your trees are all about. Now, if you see something that looks similar to a squirrel nest and it's green, you just might have stumbled upon some mistletoe. Which is a nice find for this time of year since it's Christmas and all.

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Gallery Credit: Jude Walker

 

 

 

 

 

 

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