Busy Squirrel Building a Nest
In all of my years I have never seen a squirrel build a nest. I’ve seen leaf nests in the tops of trees and have often seen squirrels go in their nests inside dead or dying trees, but never saw the most pure, most basic survivor instinct of an animal building a shelter (well, I take that back, I’ve seen birds working on nests).
What brought about this phenomenon? Deer season ends on Saturday and I have only gotten one deer this year, but really need another to have a full year of venison provisions. So, I got home from work this evening and had just enough time to get into the woods for an hour before it got dark. Tonight I picked a spot that was pretty deep in the woods and was a perfect area smack dab in the middle of several deer trails. After about 15 minutes of decompressing from my busy day at work, I began to relax and become aware of all of the sounds and visual beauty around me. I heard the soft sounds of the flowing creek, I heard the leaves rustling from the occasional wind gusts, I heard the neighbors dogs barking echoing off the mountain, and then out of the corner of my eye I saw a grey squirrel going up a tree.
I didn’t think much of the squirrel at first. I’m see squirrels all the time and have a tendency to “overlook” them after watching them go from tree to tree for a few minutes. But, this time was different, special, if I dare say! I watched this squirrel climb down the tree and onto the ground. He/she rustled around in the leaves a bit and then began climbing the tree again, but with something in its mouth. I had to look hard, because it was probably 40-50 yards away, but saw that it had leaves in its mouth. I watched the squirrel climb the tree, expecting it to start building a nest in a clump of branches, but it disappeared! I waited and here it came again back down the tree. More leaves in mouth it made its ascent again, this time I saw the area on the tree where it disappeared and although blurry to the naked eye, I knew it must have been a hole in the tree that the squirrel was “renovating” to make its home. I used the scope of my gun and sighted in the spot and watched the squirrel go head first, mouth full of leaves, into the hole.
I watched the squirrel for a good 30 minutes in awe. The squirrel made dozens of trips up and down carrying mouth-fulls of leaves each trip up. I gave thanks that I was able to witness such primal, natural animal behavior. After awhile my mind started to wander and I wondered if the squirrel might have a big juicy nut for dinner after his hard work, or if there were baby squirrels in there, or where his girlfriend was…..
It was dark when I left the woods, not seeing a single deer, but I could not have imagined a more perfect evening.