Tree squirrels are common throughout the United States, in urban and rural areas alike. Though some find squirrels annoying, others enjoy watching the beneficial rodents jump through trees, eat acorns and scurry around. If you notice squirrels in your area, it shouldn’t be hard to find the nest. Squirrel nests – called dreys – are easiest to spot from late fall through early spring, when trees are bare.
Look for trees in areas where squirrels are active. Squirrels are partial to fruit and nut-bearing trees in the fall and bud-bearing trees during the spring. Some favorite trees are elms, maples, oaks, walnuts and other deciduous trees.
Examine high branches or abandoned woodpecker holes for leafy nests. They may also inhabit large birdhouses and squirrel houses made by humans.
Inspect the nest from a distance, using binoculars if possible. In winter, you may notice squirrels in the nest keeping warm. Squirrels don’t hibernate, but spend a lot of time in their nests during colder months, conserving body heat. Nesting material consists of sticks filled with leaves and lined with bark, fur and other materials. The leaves are the most prominent visual component of the nest. If you notice a sloppy, leafy nest located high in a tree, it is probably a squirrel nest.