It's the time of the year for plants and animals to come outside again.

It's spring so we're starting to see nests pop up in our trees (wasps' nests around our gutters, no thank you). It's a cute part of spring to see robins, bluebirds, or sparrows hovering around their nests outside in our yards as they lay eggs and watch over their young.

I've always assumed that a clump of leaves in a tree during the spring is always a bird's nest. Because what else is going to smush stuff together and nest up in a tree?

Wrong. Those bundles of leaves are called a drey and they have many purposes.

What Actually Lives In The "Nest"


These things become essentially prime real estate animals who can climb. Geography Realm says that, when you see these large clumps of leaves in trees, they're probably used as hideaways for squirrels.

Dreys are shaped like a saucer and shallow. They mostly hide there but they're kind of a nest for them too, since that's where they can raise their young and sleep safe. It also gives them some weather protection during the rainy spring season.

Dreys often start out as nests but there's a difference. Squirrels don't want to waste the useful thing that the birds made, but they can't be hidden by bare branches alone like birds can. That's when they pack on the leaves and make it into a drey.

So if you see a bunch of squirrels all over your birdfeeders this spring, look up in the trees in your yard for a bundle of leaves. If you see one, there's a good chance that's a drey and that's where the squirrels are coming from.

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