If you live east of the Mississippi River in the United States, and even in some adjacent parts of Canada, particularly where there are nut trees, you have likely seen some very active Eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) at this time of year.
In my neighborhood, which is fairly far north, the breeding period is ongoing. In most of the country, this period occurs between December and February. A second breeding period then occurs between May and July.
Interestingly, the nests used by the squirrels may differ depending on the season. For the winter/spring season, they often create nests in tree cavities. These can range in size from 6 inches in diameter to as much as 2 feet!
During the summer season, they will prepare nests in the crook of a branch or group of branches. These nests are called “dreys.” They are built from grass, moss, dried leaves, and twigs, and ook larger than what you might expect for a bird’s nest. Also, note that the nests are usually at least 20 feet off the ground.
For today’s challenge, see if you can find a squirrel nest. Look for either a drey or a cavity nest.
Note that squirrels are most active during the 2 hours after sunrise and the 2 hours before sunset. If you have the patience and the stealth, they might just show you where that nest is.
Today’s challenge is rated easy for drey spotting and medium for cavity nest identification.